Another night, another disappointing New York Islanders loss in which they let a multiple-goal lead slip away before overtime heartbreak. This time, it was a 2-0 lead they lost to the Vancouver Canucks before losing in overtime on Monday night, the team’s seventh-straight defeat.
The season is all but over despite being just four points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and there is enough blame to go around.
General manager Garth Snow’s inability or refusal to go out at the trade deadline and improve the roster left the Islanders in neutral while other contending teams, like the Columbus Blue Jackets, went out and got better with aggressive moves.
The Islanders defense, which needed the most help from Snow, is the worst in the NHL, allowing 241 goals in 67 games, canceling out a promising offense that includes two 30-goal scorers in John Tavares and Anders Lee along with the Calder Trophy favorite in rookie Mathew Barzal.
Then there’s head coach Doug Weight’s style of play, which stresses building up the attack from his team’s own defensive zone. The problem is, Weight’s team does not have the skill or defensive fortitude to play that style without getting constantly burned, especially when it comes to backchecking or clearing out Jaroslav Halak’s crease.
It was none more clear than on Monday night. Just look at the quality chances the Islanders allowed Vancouver to have:
It looks like Weight has had enough, telling Arthur Staple of the Athletic that “It’s f—ing getting old. Same story.”
During this seven-game losing streak, the Islanders have trailed going into the third period on just two occasions. It’s a clear signal that the team is broken, whether they just aren’t skilled enough, have not bought into Weight’s system or are unhappy with Snow’s inability to help with the team’s playoff push.
No matter the reason, one would have to expect changes to happen this offseason in one last attempt to appease the pending free-agent Tavares. That could mean the firing of Weight, Snow or the mass exodus of fringe NHL players that have been unable to produce in New York.