The New York Islanders showed plenty of fight Monday. Except when it came to what was on the score board — where it matters most.
Facing a lineup as skilled as the one the Tampa Bay Lightning possess is a challenge for any team. But the Islanders really didn’t offer much resistance until the third period and by then, they were down four goals and the final result was a mere technicality.
Through 40 minutes, the Islanders had a paltry 14 shots on goal, compared to the 27 their goalie Jaroslav Halak had to face. In the end, the Bolts crushed the Islanders 4-0.
The frustration in Brooklyn continues to grow.
After a second-round playoff appearance in the spring, the start to this season has been a miserable one for the Islanders. They’re in danger of falling to last in the Eastern Conference, sitting one point up on the Carolina Hurricanes.
Let’s look at some recent trends:
— A lack of discipline: They gave the talented Lightning five power plays, all before the third period. Now, the Bolts weren’t able to capitalize on the power play, but you’re playing with fire giving that lineup those chances.
— Same old story on effort: Earlier this month, the Islanders played what was described as their “worst game of the year.” That was after a 6-1 loss to the Lightning. Exactly how will this game be described? Fourteen shots on goal after 40 minutes? Hockeystats.ca had the shot attempts at 50-30 for the Lightning following two periods.
— Ladd’s struggles continue: Andrew Ladd‘s lack of production has been an issue, which is understandable considering the price he signed for as a free agent. Lately, it’s looked like he would be trending upward, with goals in back-to-back games last week. He was held off the score sheet Monday. He didn’t register a shot on net for a second straight game.
— Another tough game for Halak: Jaroslav Halak took the blame for allowing the OT goal resulting in an Islanders loss Saturday. He faced plenty of shots through two periods Monday, giving up four goals on 31 shots by the time it was all over. Again, not like the team in front of him manufactured much in the way of offence until it was too late.
It all adds up to more frustration for the Islanders fan base. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, there were more chants of ‘Fire Cappy!’ from fans at the Barclays.
The new ownership group in July gave coach Jack Capuano and general manager Garth Snow a vote of confidence, but one has to wonder how long that can last given such a bad start to the season.
The majority of fans didn’t share the same optimism in a ProHockeyTalk poll this summer.
The Islanders don’t play again until Friday, when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s not going to get any easier.