3. Looking Forward, plus, Two More Cracks at the Penguins
Losing these two games in Pittsburgh should sting for the Islanders. With the losses, they’ve fallen out of a playoff spot, despite sitting in second place in the MassMutual East Division just earlier this week.
But, as we’ve already seen previously this season, that’s just an example of how quickly and easily teams can move up and down the standings when every meeting is a four-point game. The Islanders have a busy week ahead, with four games in seven days, and three of those matchups come against teams ahead of them in the standings.
They also will play all four games this week on home ice, where the Isles are 4-0-1 during 2020-21. First, on Monday, the Islanders will meet the Buffalo Sabres, who they played fairly well against earlier this week. Then, in what should be the toughest game on the schedule this week, they’ll play the Boston Bruins.
Finally, the Islanders will cap off the week with a weekend back-to-back vs. the Penguins. The back-to-back is a perfect way to bounce back off of these two rough losses in Pittsburgh. With a little luck, the Islanders can make up all the ground they lost this week in the standings, and playing at home should be a good way to do that.
Also worth noting as we look ahead to next weekend’s two games is that Ilya Sorokin is likely to get another start this week. Sorokin had his best start of the season, and his NHL career, this past week when he shutout the Buffalo Sabres. I’m extremely interested to see him get back to work.
Again, I think an important thing to keep in mind is that what happened to the Islanders on Saturday can happen to anyone. They largely outplayed the Penguins, and if they continue to play games like that the pucks will go in the net. It’s obviously not what anyone wants to hear after such a frustrating loss, but it’s reality.
That isn’t to excuse the fact that they’re a poor shooting team, which is reflected in most of their shooting and goal-scoring metrics. But, again, any team can have a great performance that they aren’t rewarded for. So try to relax, and let’s see how things go on Monday.