Much was made of the Islanders’ recently completed nine-game road swing, in which the team went a solid 5-3-1.
But that hasn’t stopped interim head coach Doug Weight from criticizing the scheduling.
It’s no secret that the Islanders are embroiled in one of the most difficult stretches hockey has to offer, but after a nine-game road trip and now a back-to-back home-and-away, Weight said it’s taken an undue toll on the team.
“I don’t feel like getting fined but to have five days off and then to fly to Dallas, and then to fly to Chicago, and then you have a 2 o’clock game in Calgary when their building was empty for the next four days . . . and then you come home and you play one home game and go back, it’s ludicrous for me,” he said. “I yelled and screamed (at the team after the loss Monday) anyway because they deserved it.
“You have to be better this time of year, but fatigue is a factor.”
After a 4-3 loss in St. Louis on Saturday to finish the trip, the Isles returned home for a Monday game at Barclays against Carolina. The result was an ugly 8-4 loss, which the team had little time to digest because, on Tuesday, the Isles were right back at it with a return match in Raleigh.
New York showed resilience with a 3-2 OT win, with captain John Tavares netting the GWG.
As a result, the Isles remained right in the thick of the playoff race. They’re currently tied with Tampa Bay on 77 points, but hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference thanks to the ROW tiebreaker (they have 32 wins in regulation and overtime, as opposed to 30 for the Bolts).
Things aren’t going to get much easier for the Isles moving forward, however. They play seven of their final 13 games on the road, including a four-game swing from Apr. 2-8 in buffalo, Nashville, Carolina and New Jersey.