“Running into a hot goaltender is just an easy excuse at this point,” Travis Hamonic told reporters after tonight’s loss in Ottawa. And right Hamonic is. The narrative that the Islanders played hard and, aw shucks, just happened to run into a hot goalie isn’t one that should stick after tonight’s game.
The Islanders dropped their 7th game in regulation this month to a team missing two all-stars in Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson and had, like the Isles, traveled the night before. Despite getting a lot of shots on net, they managed only one goal, meaning they’ve been outscored 10-1 in their last two. That goal came from Hamonic, so the Islanders’ forwards have now been shutout in two straight games. Rick DiPietro stopped 23 of 26 shots, which will actually raise his .842 save percentage.
“The result is the same, the sour taste is the same,” said John Tavares. It all counts the same. Another night with zero points and the longer things stay the same, we’ll be talking about the draft before you know it.
In 2011-12, the Islanders had a 2-10-4 stretch in October and November. In 2010-11, there was a 1-17-3 streak that stretched from October into December. Now, in 2013 we’ve got 2-7-0 in February. In a shortened season, 2-7-0 is right up there with its predecessors in the impact it will have on derailing the season.
After Monday’s embarrassment at the Coliseum, the Islanders came out and played mediocre. It wasn’t a blatantly inspired effort, like it should have been. Monday night could have been the last straw, the ‘let’s make sure that never, ever happens again’ moment. Or, as it is now, it’s just another loss. And tonight was another loss.
The Islanders will head to Montreal on Thursday and then to Buffalo on Saturday. The Canadiens beat the Rangers 3-1 at Madison Square Garden tonight, and with 23 points, are now the new best team in Eastern Conference.
On February 3rd, Puck Daddy wrote about the Canadiens and Islanders crashing the Eastern Conference Playoff party. What a difference two weeks make.