The current state of the islanders is such that scoring a single goal seems like a mark of progress.
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Here’s the status of the Metropolitan Division’s bottom runners after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers:
He has scored three goals in three games at the UBS Arena, with Andy Androff breaking a dry spell in the third round Wednesday at 3:32. The player leading the team in goals – Brock Nelson – is on the IR for the next three to five weeks. The Islanders finished Wednesday’s game with six power-play opportunities, but they could not score on a man-advantage, reducing their November total to 1-for-27.
“We’re going to need a special-team goal, a power-play goal, a five-time goal,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We’ll need those moments after you’ve scored a goal, that in the next shift we can’t score them.”
This problem isn’t new, but it did add up to something familiar: a seventh straight loss. All have been by three or more goals.
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You all argue about whether this game should have been played with seven islanders in the COVID-19 protocol. Standings don’t care. The Islanders are 5-9-2. And it was the top-line players – not the call-ups – who called for more production from Trotz Wednesday.
“We have some guys who are dry and we’re getting into games 15, 16,” Trotz said. “It’s hard to win a hockey game when we fall a little short, I think everyone knows. And so you need people to find ways to produce. We ask them to be very responsible and have a lot to do with both sides.” Let’s take care of the brewing, but we’ll need some produce.
This would be a reference to Kyle Palmieri (one goal), Zach Parris (zero goals) and Identity Line (two combined goals – both KC Szykas).
“It’s tough,” Cizikas said when asked about the aggressive struggles. “We’re working. The thing is, we’re working hard, we’re trying to get to those places. We’re trying to get to those rebounds and they just aren’t falling for us. I guess It’s disappointing that people are working, people are trying.”
The Islanders’ current issues are not limited to scoring, or even to on-ice play. But their poor start to the season has now become a serious threat to their playoff chances. It will be an uphill climb, and there is still a way to go before the roster can be completed again.
So, some goals would be helpful.
“We are staying positive,” Sebastian Aho said. “We know what we can do.”
But the islanders are running out of time to do so.