On the ice, at the least — even when that ice is model new — it all appears to be going flawed for the Islanders.
Again-to-back losses to the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs to open up their brand-new residence at UBS Area has prolonged the Islanders’ shedding streak to 6 video games, creating an early last-place gap within the Metropolitan Division.
Following a 13-game highway journey to start out the season — the second-longest such swing in NHL historical past — the Islanders got here residence to COVID points.
Simply earlier than their long-anticipated residence opener, key veterans in forwards Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, and Anthony Beauvillier, together with defensemen Adam Pelech and Andy Greene, entered COVID protocols.
Bailey continues to be in Florida, the place he initially examined optimistic following a loss to the Panthers whereas Beauvillier’s outcomes yielded a false optimistic, permitting him to return on Sunday evening against Toronto.
All this whereas in addition they misplaced their different high defenseman in Ryan Pulock to a lower-body harm for four-to-six weeks.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz mentioned. “We’re not looking for excuses. We get it. We’re just trying to win a hockey game.”
That’s not such a simple factor to do when half of the protection is out together with the workforce’s captain in Lee and the longest-tenured playmaker in Bailey.
The Islanders have mustered simply two objectives — each from Brock Nelson on Saturday against Calgary — of their first two video games at UBS Area because the offense appeared tame and the facility play was hesitant; particularly throughout Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs that noticed New York yield the shorthanded opener whereas on a 4-on-3 man benefit.
“We have to execute. That’s on them a little bit,” Trotz mentioned. “Be sure that we execute and see if we are able to get one thing going right here.
“It seems when we think we’re going to get something going our way, it hasn’t been. It’s been difficult, no question.”
Resulting from their sporadic schedule, the Islanders have performed fewer video games than six of the seven different groups within the Metropolitan Division, however their shedding streak already has them 16 factors again of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes and 6 factors again of the seventh-place Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We have our games in hand on a lot of teams,” Trotz mentioned whereas discussing his workforce’s philosophy whereas wanting on the early standings. “It’s troublesome generally if you take a look at the groups which can be main the division. They’re to date forward you virtually have to have a look at the wild card groups as a result of there’s some separation there.
“We have to win some of our games at hand. if we don’t, the runway gets shorter and shorter and it gets more difficult.”
They’ve a chance to make a few of that floor up within the subsequent week as their subsequent 4 video games come against division opponents: An Elmont and Manhattan cut up against the Rangers on Wednesday and Sunday together with residence video games against the Pittsburgh Penguins (Friday) and Philadelphia Flyers (Nov. 30).
“Those are huge games,” Trotz admitted. “We have to find a way to get on track. We’re just focusing on getting a win here.”
No must hit the panic button, but.
“I don’t think we’re concerned,” ahead Jean-Gabriel Pageau mentioned. “We obviously know what we’re into with that group of guys. We’ve been through a lot in the last two years. A lot of adversity… We have to keep pushing together. The only way we can get out of it is together and with this group of guys, we’re a solid group and I know there’s a lot of character and I know we can get out of it for sure.”