The NY Islanders must not allow ugly play in worst home loss in over a decade linger

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

That was no way for the New York Islanders to treat a sell-out crowd during the holidays.

Blowout losses happen, clunkers happen, and no-show performances happen, but allowing six goals in a period and losing 7-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of the home fans? That is a rare occurrence. It was the tenth time the Islanders allowed six goals in a period and the first time it's happened in more than two decades, ironically also against Pittsburgh in an 8-2 loss on Mar. 21, 2000, at the Nassau Coliseum when Jaromir Jagr scored a hat trick in the second period.

The key difference between that game and last night was that the 1999-2000 Isles, led by Butch Goring, finished with 58 points that season and ended up with the first pick in the draft a few months later. This was an Isles team that had registered points in 17 of their previous 19 games with 16 of them being one-goal games. There was no way to see this coming.

It was the worst home loss since a Feb. 18, 2013 in a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, again in front of a sold out crowd, that time at the Nassau Coliseum in a President's Day matinee.

“A weird lull in the second period obviously cost us the game,” Mathew Barzal said after the game. “Sold out rink like that tonight in front of our fans, it's unacceptable. We have a game in two days that we'll be ready for and put on a better show for them.”

There are those who would say "burn the tape" after games like this, believing that there will be little to learn from watching such an uncharacteristic play. However, the Islanders didn't sound like a team that was simply going to try to dismiss the game as an aberration and move on. They plan to deal with it in a different way.

"I think we’re definitely gonna have to address something after tonight, added Barzal. "Look at some tape and whatnot. After the second period, we put an emphasis on boxing out. They got a couple free looks close to Ilya [Sorokin] tonight in the crease that we can’t be giving up. We’ll clean that up.”

They better. There's two more big Metro games before the end of 2023, starting Friday hight at home against a Washington Capitals team that has played them tough this season before getting an opportunity to avenge last night's loss against the Pens in Pittsburgh on New Year's Eve.