The NY Islanders have experienced some dreadful losses this season, but nothing compared to last night.
“This one stings. This one stings bad” said Lane Lambert.
A few weeks ago, Lambert didn’t believe the Isles' inability to hold onto leads was a trend. Now, 21 games into the season, there’s no denying this has become a recurring theme.
The Isles' third period collapse against the NJ Devils last night was the seventh time they’ve blown a two-goal lead this season. In those seven games, they’ve dropped a crucial five points. If the Isles managed to secure all five of those points, it would bring their point total to 27, which would be good enough for second in the Metro Division.
Heading into the third with a 4-2 advantage, the Isles allowed a goal to Jack Hughes just over five minutes into the third stanza to cut the lead to one. Shortly after, the Isles went on the power play with the chance to extend the lead back to two. With a power play that’s been clicking and already successful once on the night, Mat Barzal took a hooking penalty to negate the man advantage - the ninth time the Isles have done so this season. Another penalty at 4v4 flipped the momentum to the Devils, and a Nico Hischier tap-in goal made the lead disappear. Curtis Lazar’s game-winner with 23 seconds remaining was the final blow, as the Isles left the Garden State without a point.
“Obviously it’s extremely concerning,” Lambert said. “We had the game under control. We have a power play, and we take a penalty, and then we take another stupid penalty, and all of a sudden, instead of being up five on four, we’re down four on three, and they end up scoring. You know, just mistakes that we made... But we have to be better.”
Yes, they have to be better, but where do you start? Is the onus on the coaching staff? The defensemen? The goaltenders? It’s a combination of them all, but somebody is likely to take the fall sooner rather than later, it just depends on where Lou Lamoriello turns first.