There is a saying, most often associated with old time hockey, that says, "how can you beat em on the ice if you can't beat em in the alley?" Well, the New York Islanders certainly must have felt that way tonight as they skated to a 5-3 regulation victory over the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
There really was not much to say after the Isles were blown out 6-1 last night by the Pittsburgh Penguins. But there is a glaring stat that can be taken away from this loss. Over the past two seasons, the Islanders have only won consecutive back-to-back games once (Photo Credit: theseoduke/Flickr).
There have been a total of 28 back-to-back games from the start of the 2011-2012 season to the last two games played this past Saturday and Sunday. Of those 28, the Islanders only pair of wins that came two days in a row included a 3-2 victory in Boston on March 3, 2012 and a 1-0 win at home versus New Jersey on March 4, 2012.
The Isles overall back-to-back record in the 2012 season was 8-10-2-2. Presently, they are 3-3-0-0 in back to back games. However, they have yet to win the second game of a back-to-back pairing this year and only accomplished that task five of 11 times last season.
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet. One of the National Hockey League's "road warriors" with a record of six wins three losses and one overtime loss, the Isles are conversely one of the league's worst home teams. How bad? 2-8-0 bad. The worst home start in franchise history kind of bad.
The Islanders are just slightly past the quarter mark of the season after playing their 13th game of the year last night against the New York Rangers. They skated to a 4-3 shootout victory to give them a 5-7-1 record.
With 11 points, the Islanders sit 12th in the Eastern Conference; four points out of the eighth placed Rangers and last in the Atlantic Division (Photo Credit: theseoduke/Flickr).
Five of the Islanders top-six forwards have been producing from the start of the year. John Tavares has 16 points in 13 games, trailed by Matt Moulson with 13 and Brad Boyes with 10. Frans Nielsen has quietly put up nine points in the games that have been played, while Michael Grabner has seven.
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.
The old saying goes as follows: "defense wins championships." The New York Islanders have learned in recent years that they have not had enough defense. No Islanders team has averaged less than three goals against per game since the 2007-2008 season, and if that team had allowed three more goals, it would have been exactly three goals against per game.
The Islanders face off against The Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 1 p.m.
The Islanders look to rebound from Saturday's opening night loss on home ice to the New Jersey Devils. The Devils beat the Islanders 2-1 behind strong goaltending from Martin Brodeur and some timely offense from Illya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac and David Clarkson.