This is the year that the New York Islanders should look to be buyers at the trade deadline.
It is only just eight days away, and the Islanders presently sit with 31 points, just two shy from tying the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot with only 16 games remaining in the regular season.
Typically at this juncture, the Isles are on the verge of collapsing into the final three spots of the Eastern Conference and increasing their chances of winning the draft lottery. Although that is still a frightening scenario that can still play out for Garth Snow's squad, it is time for the Isles GM to make a statement that the rebuild is over.
The New York Islanders controlled about forty minutes of hockey tonight against the visiting Ottawa Senators but surrendered four unanswered goals in the final period of the game to lose 5-3 in regulation.
Matt Kassian would get the scoring started with a redirection just 6:23 into the first period after Sergei Gonchar let go of a wrister from the point to give the Sens the early lead, but Keith Aucoin would answer with his fifth goal of the year just before the end of the period.
Kyle Okposo made a nice spin around pass from behind the Sens net to find Aucoin to bury the puck through Ben Bishop's five hole. Josh Bailey had the secondary assist.
Despite the tie score, the Islanders created several turnovers in the Senators end of the ice - most notably during shifts from the Okposo-Nielsen-Bailey line.
When Garth Snow took over as general manager of the New York Islanders, he eventually set out on a mission to turn a lowly franchise into a contending hockey team by building through the NHL draft and developing talent from within (Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
He took over in 2006, but did not start his rebuilding campaign until 2007-2008. Players such as Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bergenheim and Frans Nielsen began to slowly earn full-time roster spots with the organization.
The following year saw some other fresh faces like Jack Hillen, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau in orange and blue gear for the majority of the season. Since then, John Tavares has taken over this team while management weeded out a few bad apples and traded away some young talent that was not prospering on the island.
The New York Islanders went into tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with the hopes of ending a four-game losing streak before heading back to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night for their Valentine's Day re-match with the New York Rangers. Despite ending their scoreless power play streak, the Islanders would add another tally to the loss column with a 6-4 defeat on home ice.
Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with a power play goal just 2:48 into the hockey game with assists coming from Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic. But former Islanders Tim Wallace would tie the game a little over mid-way through the first period, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms in a draw.
The middle frame would prove to be a wild one. John Tavares scored the Isles second power play goal after jumping on a rebound in front. Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky earned the helpers. But Canes forward Jeff Skinner would knot it up at two less than 30 seconds later with a snap shot in the high slot that Rick DiPietro never saw.
After dropping their last four games, the Islanders will look to turn things around tonight when they face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes at home.
After dressing two suspended players, Josh Bailey and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Isles played a hard fought game against the Sabres on Saturday night. Despite outshooting Buffalo 43-15, the Isles fell short in a 3-2 loss, cementing a four-game losing streak. (Photo Credit: Beauty Playin 'Eh/Flickr)
As Long Islanders shovel their way out of Nemo's wintery wrath, the Islanders look to dig themselves out of this 3 game losing streak.
After a successful road trip, the Islanders returned home to lose to New Jersey and Pittsburgh and went back to the road for the first against the Rangers.
Other than John Tavares' impressive play, the Islanders looked outworked, unenthusiastic and just overwhelmed by the Rangers.
They have been outscored 11-3 on this recent skid. It is obvious that scoring is not coming to the team as easily as it once was.
It is important for the team not to harp on losses and let them snowball into long stretches of futility that could render this season a wash.
The season is too tightly packed for the Islanders to feel bad for themselves and let the losses mount. In this talented Eastern Conference and more specifically Atlantic Division, it is easy to get buried.
Kyle Okposo spent a considerable amount of time on the Isles top unit last season alongside of John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Despite a very slow start that saw him sit in the press-box as a healthy scratch for multiple games, Okposo managed to reach the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career with a total of 24 on the year (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr).
Okposo started this season with the same line-mates mentioned above but only scored three points in eight games and appeared to be struggling to keep up with his offensive counterparts. So last night head coach Jack Capuano shifted him back to the second line with Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, two players that found chemistry with Okposo for the majority of last year.
The New York Islanders were looking to continue their winning ways against the New Jersey Devils today in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee but came up short, surrendering three late goals in the third period for a final score of 3-0.
Special teams would be a key factor in this game, as the Islanders had a handful of power play chances in the first period that they were unable to connect on. In the end, a charging penalty on Isles defenseman, Brian Strait would ultimately lead to all three goals scored by the Devils. Steven Bernier received a bouncing puck off an Adam Henrique shot and was easily able to roof it over a sprawled Evgeni Nabokov, who had 24 saves on the night. Adam Greene had the secondary assist.
Just over a minute later, Bernier would strike again, this time at even-strength with the assists coming from Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta.
David Clarkson would add an empty netter, which also gave Greene another helper for the night.