The New York Islanders sit 28th in the NHL in goals allowed this season, surrendering 3.23 a game.
For one Islander, it’s almost too much to comprehend.
“We know what we have in here,” Matt Martin told Newsday following Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Toronto. “We know what we have and what we need to do. The inconsistency is just unbelievable.”
While the Islanders were hardly an impenetrable fortress defensively last year — they finished 21st in goals allowed, at 2.83 per game — it was good enough to get them into the playoffs and push Pittsburgh in a hard-fought opening round series.
But, changes happened.
Captain Mark Streit was dealt to Philly and the group’s other veteran leader, Lubomir Visnovsky, has been out since Oct. 19 with a concussion. While the two are at the back end of their respective careers, Streit and Visnovsky provided valuable experience to a group that was light in that department, and now relies heavily on the likes of Travis Hamonic (23), Matt Donovan (23) and Thomas Hickey (24).
(The Isles have also been without the steadying presence of Brian Strait, currently on IR with an upper-body injury.)
There’s also the not-so-small issue of inconsistent goaltending, which has plagued the Isles throughout the year. Evgeni Nabokov hasn’t been good and is now on IR himself, leaving the starting duties to Kevin Poulin, who had 21 total games of NHL experience heading into this season.
Finally, there’s puck luck. When things are going poorly, teams tend to get little of it — something the Islanders are experiencing right now.
“It’s not like we make a ton of mistakes,” Hamonic told Newsday. “But it seems like every one of ’em costs us.”