While the numbers suggest there’s been an element of bad luck to the Islanders’ four-game losing streak — just four goals on 140 total shots? — that didn’t stop captain John Tavares from offering a harsh assessment of his team’s 4-1 loss last night in Chicago.
“We just did not do anything well,” Tavares said, per Reuters. “We didn’t execute, looked slow, watching them play and make plays. Losing battles. It’s just not good enough.”
Coach Jack Capuano, meanwhile, was left to lament the Isles’ poor puck management and lack of “grit and desperation” against the ‘Hawks.
On the bright side, the penalty killing, a glaring weakness for much of the season, has been successful; the Isles haven’t surrendered a power-play goal in their last eight games.
But with the playoffs just around the corner, there’s clear concern within the ranks of a team that’s won just four of its last 13 games and hasn’t been controlling the puck to quite the same degree it did earlier in the season.
Starting Thursday in New Jersey, the Isles have 10 games left to rediscover their previous form. After that, a first-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins is the most likely.
The Pens, of course, eliminated the Isles in the first round the last time New York made the playoffs, in 2013.
The Isles haven’t won a postseason series since 1993.
The New York Islanders ready for a brief two-game road trip with some injury matters to consider.
New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple passes along word that Kevin Poulin has been recalled from the AHL, as Jaroslav Halak isn’t expected to join the team in Chicago on Tuesday. It’s unclear what, exactly, Halak is dealing with, but it may not be serious.
Staple also reports that Nick Leddy could be approaching his return to the Islanders lineup:
Leddy (pictured) has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury.
This might be a good time for the Islanders to gather their wits, as they’ve lost three games in a row and six of their last eight. The New York Rangers are pulling away enough that the Islanders really might just be fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but either way they’d certainly prefer to get out of this minor funk before the playoffs begin.
John Tavares expects them to work their way out of this, for one.
If you look at Saturday’s Montreal Canadiens – New York Islanders game as a showcase between two potential Hart Trophy candidates (rather than two East contenders), then Carey Price got the best of John Tavares tonight.
Price was brilliant once again for Montreal, stopping 35 out of 36 shots as the Habs beat the Islanders 3-1. Tavares created some great chances – as usual – yet Price was game for all of his six shots on net.
Price’s stop on Matt Martin was probably the sexiest highlight of them all, though:
In reality, this wasn’t just about two stars, especially since there were plenty of other standout talents on the ice like P.K. Subban. It was a great night for Max Pacioretty (a goal on a gaffe by Michal Neuvirth) and a not-so-great evening for Kyle Okposo and Johnny Boychuk, who both suffered with -3 ratings.
The out-of-town scoreboard was also friendly to the Canadiens and unfriendly to the Islanders. While the Tampa Bay Lightning muffed their chance to keep pace with Montreal, the New York Rangers took care of business against the Buffalo Sabres. That leaves the Habs strongly in first place in the Atlantic Division while the Isles face an uphill battle to catch the Rangers in the Metro.
Both teams seem like they’re on the upswing overall, but it was Montreal that took a step forward tonight.
The Montreal Canadiens will be down a skater for the rest of Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders as Torrey Mitchell suffered an upper-body injury.
(Mitchell may have been injured in an exchange with John Tavares.)
Mitchell, 30, was excited to get traded to his hometown team during the deadline. He hasn’t scored a point in six games with the Canadiens so far this season, although that’s not exactly what they acquired him for, anyway.
NBCSN presents quite a treat on Saturday night, as the New York Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens.
While Montreal made it to the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, one could argue that the two teams are still trying to establish themselves as perennial contenders in this conference. In fact, a win could put one of the two squads atop their respective division.
There’s plenty of star power on hand, from John Tavares to Carey Price to P.K. Subban. You can watch the action on NBCSN as well as via NBC Live Sports Extra:
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Read more about the game in this preview.