Alas, the New York Islanders will not go 78-straight games without a regulation loss.
Their franchise-record streak of 17 games with at least one point came to an end on Monday night in Anaheim in a 3-0 loss to the Ducks.
The Islanders have now just scored a single game through the first two games of their three-game California road trip, while Monday’s dud against the Ducks was the first time this season that they were shut out.
Regulation losses to lesser opponents happen. It’s commonplace in the NHL.
But Islanders head coach Barry Trotz’s reaction after the game serves a reminder why he’s the best coach in New York right now and one of the top bench bosses in hockey.
Rather than pat his team on the back for their historic run of games unbeaten in regulation, he got on them.
“You’ll see when we’re committed in certain areas, we’ll have success. When we’re not, we won’t,” Trotz told MSG Network. “We’ll look at this and identify the culprits.”
After a strong first period where they outshot the Ducks 16-5, the Islanders were outworked and outplayed by Anaheim — suggesting that complacency had set in.
“It’s hard to be hungry if you’re full,” Trotz said. “I think we had a lot of guys who were full.”
Trotz also hinted that there are changes to be made despite his team getting off to one of their best starts in franchise history behind a 16-4-2 record.
“We’ve got to get a couple of guys going,” he said (h/t Arthur Staple of The Athletic). “We’ve been patient with some guys, but we’ve got to get going here.”
Among two of the largest culprits are veteran wingers Jordan Eberle and captain Anders Lee, who have struggled to find their footing this season.
Eberle has yet to score in 12 games this season and was responsible for redirecting Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf’s effort past Thomas Greiss for the opening goal on Monday.
He was seldom-used in the third period, playing less than four minutes. The Islanders will expect more from a player they signed to a five-year, $27.5 million deal over the summer.
Lee — who has averaged 34 goals per year over the past three seasons — hasn’t scored a goal in his last 10 games.
His penalty midway through the second period snuffed out a brief spell of momentum claimed by the Islanders which led to Anaheim’s opener less than three minutes later.
The Islanders are not going to be a team that offensively runs the opposing team out of the building. So when the goals do dry up, the onus hones in on the playmakers.
It also provides validity to those screaming for the Islanders to add one more goal scorer to truly put them over the top as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Now on a two-game losing streak, the Islanders meet the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The Kings have the fewest points in the Western Conference and have lost three of their last four games, providing a golden opportunity for the Islanders to bounce back strong.