It's been an incredibly frustrating start to the season for the NY Islanders. Through 11 games, the Isles have 13 points, sitting right in the middle of the Metropolitan Divison. Despite being over .500, there are some glaring issues within the team, with third period collapses at the forefront.
It's the opposite problem of last season when the Isles would struggle out of the gate, managing to pull themselves out of a hole late in the game. After the blown three-goal lead against the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night, Lane Lambert did not believe the Isles' struggles in the final stanza were a trend.
"We're certainly hoping it's not a trend," said Lambert. "We've given away a couple of multi-goal leads, certainly not a recipe for success. Is it a trend? No, it's too early, but certainly something we need to make sure doesn't become a trend."
With two more subpar third periods in as many games, there seems to be some inclination that this is not just a bad run of games.
Throughout the season, the Isles have been outscored 16-9 in the third while being outshot 140-118. The last five games have become even more worrysome, being outscored 10-3 and outshot 63-46.
A third period short-handed goal by Simon Holmstrom last night got the Isles right back in the game, nodding the score up at two. But seconds later, on the same power play, the Bruins regained the lead on a David Pastrnak goal.
It seems as the pendulum begins to sway in favor of the Isles, they push it right back across the ice.
"We are for whatever reason right now, having trouble sustaining a 60-minute game," Lambert said. "We've got to find a way to do that.
Playing against one of the league's top teams last night, the Isles didn't look out of place for the most part. After the first 15 minutes of the game, the Isles got the better of the Bruins at even strength with a 2.13-1.46 advantage in expected goals, according to MoneyPuck.
The Isles have been getting out to terrific starts this season, outscoring opponents 12-5 in the first period. From there, games have slipped out of their grasp in what has become more than an anomaly. Whether it's coaching or the players on the ice, the Isles need to solve their third period woes before the season begins to slip away.