The Islanders fell to the Los Angeles Kings last night by a score of 3-2. The theme continued for the Islanders as they put forth a poor effort against a playoff team.
The Kings played with more energy and hunger throughout the contest. The Islanders defenseman were lackadaisical to the pucks and the Kings forwards put constant pressure on the forecheck. The urgency does not seem to be evident for this veteran squad.
The concerning handling of the goaltending rotation is contributing to the inconsistency. The old saying of riding the hot hand has not matched the thoughts of head coach, Barry Trotz.
Islanders Recent Matchups
It is safe to say that the Islanders cannot afford to lose any points. The hill to climb to a playoff spot is steeper as the season progresses.
A solid goaltending effort can make up for a poor team effort. The best goaltender should be playing as this team has no guarantees for the post season. That goalie is Ilya Sorokin this season.
The Islanders matched up against the lowly Arizona Coyotes last week in the first game of a back-to-back. The backend was played against the playoff bound Toronto Maple Leafs. It would have been safe to say that the Islanders would be safe to win against the Coyotes with Seymon Varlamov. Sorokin would have given the Islanders a better chance against the Maple Leafs.
As expected, the Islanders and Sorokin shutout the Coyotes and Varlamov lost to the Maple Leafs. To the credit of Varlamov, he did not play a poor game besides a questionable goal. After two days off, the Islanders played the slumping Philadelphia Flyers. Again, playing Varlamov would have given the team a good chance to win.
The next game was last night to the streaking Kings. Sorokin again played against the weaker opponent and Varlamov proved to be the difference between a point against the Kings.
The Islanders and staff have emphasized the importance of the coming schedule. This has been said to be their playoffs after a slow start. Wouldn’t you start your best goalie in a playoff game?
Obviously, Sorokin cannot play the rest of the season without a rest. However, the rest can come at the hand of the lesser opponents.
It is time to start a run and ride the hot goalie. These next few weeks may be the closest thing to playoff hockey that the Islanders experience.