After last night's 4-3 OT loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at UBS Arena, New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert was asked about the recent multi-goal leads his team hasn't been able to hold, costing them valuable points that could be crucial later in the season.
Lambert acknowledged the recent issue but stopped short of defining it as a reoccurring tendency of his team through the first ten games of the season. "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."
Saturday night marked the fourth time in seven home games that the Islanders have blown a two-goal lead. The reason why Lambert may not consider it a trend is that twice, against the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators, they were able to break 2-2 ties and win the game in regulation. They weren't as lucky the last two home games, twice blowing 3-1 third-period leads and then losing in overtime, first to the Detroit Red Wings and then again to Carolina last night.
What's the common theme in all these games? Lambert makes it sound like a simple fix, but yet it isn't something that team has corrected when presented the same situation.
"It's a matter of making plays; that's the commonality that I see," added Lambert. "When we get the puck on our stick, we need to make plays with it. When we turn it over, they continue to come back, and then we get on our heels. If we make plays and manage the puck, then we're playing on our toes where we're at our best, and we just haven't done that well enough to this point."
Whatever you want to call it and whatever the solution may be, repeatedly blowing leads and allowing a lopsided amount of shot attempts is not the markings of a good defensive team and that's particularly concerning when structured team defense and strong goaltending is expected to be team strengths, not liabilities when holding onto a lead in the final 20 minutes.