It might not be time to “panic
“, but it is also not a time to do nothing either. The Isles dropped their 5th in a row with a 2-0 shut out to the Florida Panthers in the third game of their four game road trip. Both Panther goals came near the end of periods (first and second), and were scored by defensemen after Florida had only had 1 goal from the back line over the last 11 games.
The Islanders had their moments and played well at times, totaling 31 shots. However, they were also dominated at times as well, and, to me, the overall effort just was not consistently present. In fact, I stand corrected if proven wrong, but I can only recall one or two times in which Tomas Vokoun had to break a sweat to stop any good scoring chances. The Isles did have a Freddy Meyer goal waved off because the net came off before the puck crossed the goal line, which, at that time, probably killed any momentum the Islanders started to muster early in the third period. Still, 2-0 is not an insurmountable deficit in the NHL and with Florida having had their own trouble scoring goals, it was a realistic possibility that the Isles could have gotten themselves back in the game with some effort and intensity.
What is also disturbing to me is besides giving up yet another power play goal, the Islanders did not score on a 5 on 3 or a 4 on 3 power play. Granted the 5 on 3 was about 12 seconds, but they had two power plays in a row and could have turned the game around at that stage.
Gary is much better at concisely stating “what needs to change” or “what needs to be done”. I will only say that a sense of desperation and “panic” needs to be behind their effort. They need the intensity of the forecheck and the 60 minute effort once again. Perhaps, Chris Botta is correct in his comment on IPB that hanging up the standings in the locker room was not such a good idea for this young team.
It is not to make excuses or the like, but we also must keep in mind that our top line features 19, 20 and 21 year old players, and that our core is still under 23 or 25 years old. Maybe, some have been placing too much pressure on the team and the boys themselves have, in turn, been doing so to themselves collectively. Still, with 6 games left before the olympic break and one last game in Tampa on this road trip, the Islanders are still very much alive in the playoff chase. It’s a matter of righting the ship with some baby steps and regaining the confidence we recently saw a few weeks ago over that 10 game stretch of victories.