With the New York Islanders official exit from the playoffs, there was a lot of discussion about what happened? When did things go wrong for them exactly?
Was it that massive 13-game road trip to open the year? Sure the road trip was long but the Isles wasn't that bad. With a 5-6-2 record, their return in the standings was just under a 0.500 record. With such a long trip it could have been much worse.
But the big issue was that eleven-game losing streak. A losing streak that started at the end of that marathon road trip.
New York Islanders 11-game losing streak was too much to overcome
In hindsight, that road trip was a recipe for disaster. Not simply because of its length and the fact that the NHL is built to give the home team an advantage. But because of what was going on in the world at the time.
The COVID pandemic was still in full force in North America at that time. All that travel meant countless interactions. Every interaction increased the chance of being infected with COVID. An infection that would force a player out of the lineup for a few games. And that's exactly what happened to the Isles.
From Game 13 on the schedule through Game 28 the Isles were hit hard by COVID.
At one point the Islanders had eight players on the NHL's COVID protocol. At which point the league finally postponed some of the Isles games. But the damage was already done. The Isles lost eight of eleven before the postponement and three OT losses after it.
That corresponds with the Isles 11-game losing streak from Game 10 through to Game 20. Dropping 19 points* of a possible 22 points in the standings. Just too much to overcome. Even if the losing streak occurred in November.
*The final three losses in the run were 2 OT losses and one in the shootout.
Assuming the Isles go 0.594* over those 11 games while everything else remains the same, that adds another 13 points to the team's points total. That puts the Isles at 89 over the 79 they have now. A five-point gap versus the 15-point cavern that exists now.
*their points percentage for the season minus the 11-game skid
Obviously, that doesn't vault them into a playoff position, but they are MUCH closer than they are now.
That eleven-game skid is where things crumbled and they just couldn't recover from it.