The New York Islanders gave up a 3-2 second period lead in what was eventually a 6-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday.
That marks five straight losses to begin the month of February for the Islanders. In a shortened 48-game schedule, five straight losses, even if early in the season, can prove costly.
“It feels weird to say the next game’s a must-win,” Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic told Long Island Newsday.
“We’ve got to look at it that way. We have to make sure we stop this.”
The Islanders’ losing skid followed up on wins over the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins – the number one and five teams, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.
If there was one positive for the Islanders, it was the four power play goals they tallied.
“We’re the type of team that needs all 20 guys going, and we didn’t have that tonight…I thought some guys were soft,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told NHL.com.
“We’ve got to find a way 5-on-5 to generate some offense. Our power play was good, but it’s not going to be there every day.”
Jiri Tlusty tallied four points – all coming in the third period – for Carolina. He tied the game at three goals apiece and added the insurance marker into an empty net with 11 seconds remaining.
“We find a way to (get) the points, which is a big key for our team and we have to keep it rolling,” Tlusty told the Raleigh-based News and Observer.
“Our third period has been really strong. We came out really hard tonight (in the third) and wore the D down. That was the plan.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.