From ice issues to dreaded votes of confidence and lacking play, the New York Islanders have been a big letdown in 2016-17. They aren’t consciously trying to leave their fans depressed, but if that was the goal, they’d be excelling in that area.
Lately, the Islanders have been unable to protect leads, including tonight’s 5-4 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks.
As Newsday’s Arthur Staple notes, the Islanders are now on a three-game losing streak, a run in which they’ve held a third-period lead in all three games. Just, ouch.
To be fair to the Islanders, this streak also comes against three playoff-quality teams (arguably three Cup contenders) in the Blue Jackets, Capitals and now Blackhawks. Chicago stands as a particular contrast to the Islanders in the way they’ve been closing out games.
So, it’s not like the Islanders are just awful. Sometimes, it’s actually worse for a fan base to go through that yo-yo effect, though; the Isles would likely flirt with “most frustrating team” status for this season.
This losing streak comes after the Islanders won five of six games, collecting a point in all six (5-0-1). They’re now 11-13-5, a more disastrous situation when you consider the context of the astoundingly potent top rankings of the Metropolitan Division.
With it being mid-December, it’s possible that the Islanders will turn things around and reward their patient fans. The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t look so hot this time last year, as just one example of a team making it work mid-season.
Still, it’s been a slog early on, and we’re not just talking about the roundly critiqued playing surface.