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Do Islanders Have Enough Talent? Inside Lambert’s Response

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders offense has been struggling, but a strong start against the Washington Capitals put those issues in the rear-view mirror for a hot second. After three goals on 13 shots, it looked like there would be a bloodbath at UBS Arena.

It was the first time in five games that the New York Islanders had potted more than two goals, but that achievement did not mean much. The Islanders did not score again after Hudson Fasching’s tally just under four minutes into the second, while the Washington Capitals came all the way back before winning 4-3 in overtime.

The Islanders finished the game with 30 shots on goal, 13 of which were considered high-danger, per NaturalStatrick.com.

And that’s been the issue of late for New York. They have had the chances in games, like on Monday night, to put teams away or at least pad their leads, but have not been able to.

It goes back to offensive execution.

It goes back to general manager Lou Lamoriello not bringing in a high-octane goal scorer.

And it goes back to a handful of players failing to help carry the load offensively.

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And then it leads to questions like we heard Monday night following the game, as Lambert was asked if he believed his team had enough finishers on the roster.

“Absolutely,” Lambert said. “We’ve been creating opportunities and there are certain guys that have been in droughts, and they’ll come out of them.”

Lambert would never say he didn’t have the talent to win, but it’s no secret that his group needs external support.

As for the slumps, the Islanders have a handful of players struggling to finish chances.

Brock Nelson is the Islanders top offensive weapon in terms of goal production, but he has not found the back of the net in 13 games. Over that span, the Islanders have scored just 2.46 goals per game.

No one else has stepped up offensively, leading to a 5-5-3 record.

The most dynamic offensive player on the backend is Noah Dobson with 10 goals, but he has not scored in 14 games.

Although all streaks, good or bad, must eventually end, a lack of finishing disallowed the Islanders from putting that game against Washington away.

The lack of finishing allowed the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night to have a chance in what ended up being a 2-1 Islanders win.

The lack of finishing and chance creation did not allow the Islanders to get out to a more significant lead against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night in an eventual 3-1 loss following a third-period collapse.

And a lack of finishing last Monday against the Dallas Stars allowed that game to go to overtime and then a shootout, with a 2-1 loss as a result.

That’s four straight games where the offense has been an issue, a microcosm of the entire 2021-22 season.

Over the last four games, the Islanders have been outscored 6-0 in third periods, with eight unanswered goals.

Here’s the breakdown:

4 to Washington
1 to Montreal
3 to Minnesota 

The offense showed its potential earlier in the season when they were averaging north of 3.30 goals per game at one point, with the backends production masking the issues of the forward group. But with the backend, Dobson, not potting pucks as of late, the forwards’ lack of production quickly came back to the surface.

Lambert is playing with the cards he has been dealt, but those cards have not created a winning hand. Even when the deck has been shuffled, the results have been the same. But in sports, the coach cannot fold, but the general manager certainly can. And we are at the point where a card needs to be taken from another deck if this season will end with, at the very least, a playoff berth.

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