The current situation for the Islanders is such that scoring a single goal is a mark of progress.
Here’s the situation for residents at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to Rangers:
They have scored three goals in three games at UBS Arena, Andy Andreoff finally broke a drought Wednesday at 3:32 in the third period. The player who leads the team in goals – Brock Nelson – is in IR for the next three to five weeks. The Islanders finished Wednesday’s game with six power play chances, but couldn’t score on the power play, bringing their November tally to 1 for 27.
“We’re going to need a special teams goal, a power-play goal, a convenient five-on-five goal,” said coach Barry Trotz. “We’re going to need those moments after you score a goal, this next shift, we can’t get them to score.”
This is not a new issue, but it has added to something familiar: a seventh straight loss. All have been by three or more goals.
Chat whatever you want to find out if this game should have been played with seven islanders in the COVID-19 protocol. The rankings don’t care. The Islanders are 5-9-2. And it was the top players – not the conscripts – that Trotz demanded more production from Wednesday.
“We have guys who are dry and we’re starting 15, 16 games,” Trotz said. “It’s hard to win hockey games when we’re a little exhausted, I think everyone knows that. And so you need people to find ways to produce. We ask them to be very responsible and take care of the puck on both sides, but we will need some production.
It would be a reference to Kyle Palmieri (one goal), Zach Parise (zero goals) and the Identity Line (two goals combined – both Casey Cizikas).
“It’s difficult,” Cizikas said when asked about offensive struggles. ” We work. That’s the thing, is that we work hard, we try to reach those points. We’re trying to get those rebounds and they just aren’t falling in love with us just yet. I think what’s frustrating is that the guys are working, the guys are trying.
The Islanders’ current problems aren’t just about scoring, or even playing on the ice. But their disastrous start to the season now poses a serious threat to their playoff chances. It will be a tough climb, and there is still some way to go before the list is complete again.
So some goals would be helpful.
“We remain positive,” said Sebastian Aho. “We know what we can do.”
But the Islanders are running out of time to do it.