Following the New York Islanders 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, defenseman Noah Dobson said, “We can’t expect to start off slow and spot the other team two, three, whatever goals a night to start.”
That’s what they did against Edmonton, which is something they could not do against the Calgary Flames Friday night if they wanted to end their lackluster road trip on a positive note.
But they did exactly that: they allowed three goals in the first period, two in 1:29 as they headed to the first intermission down 3-1 before losing 4-1.
It was a bad first period, but to the Islanders’ credit, they weren’t dominated like they were in Edmonton, as they only allowed six shots on goal in the first. But it was a slow start, and the Islanders paid the price.
Forward Zach Parise shared his thoughts on the road trip following Friday’s loss: “It was a long one and not how we envisioned it going, but, again, learn from the mistakes that we made and hopefully get some guys back healthy and go from there,”
Parise has been a player that waits by his locker after every game and every practice, and you could hear the dissapointment in his voice.
But there’s a concern with this Islanders team as they aren’t learning from their mistakes, specifically on this road trip.
The Islanders first period in Calgary capped off four-straight games with disastrous play early.
In first periods on this trip, the Islanders were outscored 7-2 and outshot 48-28.
The magic of the comeback, which we saw early in the year, was only prevalent in one game against the weakest of their opponents, the Vancouver Canucks.
And yes, the Islanders have the injury excuse, as they were down their hottest player Mathew Barzal on Friday night, who tweaked something against the Oilers on Thursday. They remain down Kyle Palmieri, Simon Holmstrom, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Adam Pelech for this trip, which did not help.
Good teams find a way to overcome injuries, and it’s hard to look at their play and say they played their best on this trip.
But where is the accountability for the poor play?
The answer from the players over what went wrong early in these four games has been a mystery.
“I don’t know. We’re searching for answers on that,” Lambert said back following Thursday’s loss. “We have to find answers.”
“Not too sure, to be honest,” All-Star Brock Nelson said.
“Sometimes you go through these stretches where things happen,” longest-tenured Islander Josh Bailey said.
There’s no question that Lambert has been dealt a tough hand. He’s had injury after injury after injury to key players and has not received the most from his players on the ice. Lambert does not provide much during his media availabilities, and you take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt.
But as the coach, accountability, first and foremost, has to run through him.
“The results weren’t great, but I didn’t think we started the game bad,” New York Islanders head coach Lambert said regarding their first period against Calgary.
It was still a bad start despite not being dominated and it certainly, as mentioned, was not their first bad start. their fourth lousy start in a row.
Now they head back to Long Island with just two of a possible eight points when they should have, at the minimum, returned home with four.
The New York Islanders find themselves in the second wild-card spot but now trail the top wild-card seed Washington Capitals by four points and hold a slim two-point cushion over the Pittsburgh Penguins.