What a difference 24 hours can make.
On Wednesday night as the Islanders prepared to face-off with the Anaheim Ducks, there was a feeling of “here we go again” around the club and fans. An overtime victory in Anaheim followed up by a shoot-out win against the Stanley Cup Champion Kings Thursday night and the good vibes were rolling again on Long Island.
The Islanders season has been over for awhile now, their best players have been on the shelf for weeks, and they are basically rolling out the Bridgeport Sound Tigers lineup acting as an NHL lineup day in and day out, but somehow these kids have collected points in 10 of their last 13 games over the past month.
Many probably did not expect him to be more than just a fourth line forward that only got the call against top heavy opponents like the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, but Eric Boulton has proven to be a rather reliable player (Photo credit: paul.hadsall/Flickr).
Boulton dressed for 15 of last season's 48 games last year and did not register a single point. He had a -4 rating and 36 PIMs to go with it.
This year, Boulton has seen 12 games this year and has two goals, two assists and four points to go along with a +3 rating and 48 PIMs.
The Islanders (8-17-5) recent road trip has begun as miserable as the team’s season thus far, as they dropped both games in St. Louis and Los Angeles, while being outscored 8-1. The Isles have dropped a total of 9 games in a row and their season is on the brink of obscurity.
On the day that the Islanders revealed their new threads for the Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium, they will look to get back to their winning ways in front of their home crowd. The New York Islanders will be taking on the Winnipeg Jets, who are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. On the other side of that, is the struggling Isles who has won just 2 of their last 10 contests. They have only walked away with 4 of 24 potential points. These losing ways have the Isles resting rather uncomfortably in the basement of the Metropolitan Division with a measly 19 points.
It's been repeated dozens of times before: the Islanders defense is not as good as it needs to be, and the goaltending between the pipes is a major area of concern. But what hasn't been acknowledged is that the Isles offense, which has more or less been excused, needs improvement as well (Photo credit: THEFANBLOG/Flickr).
There's no denying that Matt Carkner's play has been less than superb, and that Matt Donovan has continued to make the expected rookie mistakes. Both of these players have led to Travis Hamonic and most notably Andrew MacDonald being forced into accepting more minutes and responsibility that is perhaps too much for this duo to handle on a nightly basis.
Add that Lubomir Visnovsky's veteran leadership has been missing for quite some time now and you have every hockey pundit saying "ya think?!" when asked if the Isles defense may be one of the reasons why they have slid in the standings.
But see if you can answer this: aside from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek (while healthy) and Frans Nielsen, where has the offense come for this team?
All of the dreams of a positive season surrounding the Islanders have turned into nightmares. The Islanders fell to another division rival Saturday night as the Flyers held off the Isles late push with a 5-2 victory at a sold out Wells Fargo Center.