Going into last Sunday afternoon's home game against the Devils, the Islanders were 4-2-1, and atop the Atlantic Division. They were the owners of the league's top ranked penalty kill, as well as the number one ranked power-play.
Fast forward one week.
Now, the Islanders are 4-6-1, and in the Atlantic Division basement. The power-play has slipped to 14th in the NHL. The penalty kill has also slightly dipped, it is now 5th in the league.
We have all seen this happen before, the Islanders get off to a hot start then fade quickly in the middle of the season. Is it happening again? Maybe. Is there reason to believe that this year may be different?
The past week has been a nightmare. The Islanders constantly coming out sloppy, only to fight back and come just a little bit short. Either that or they would just not show up at all. During the Super Bowl Sunday matinee against the Devils, the Islanders played well for the first 56 minutes, then the Devils broke through for a power-play goal, and added two more for a 3-0 final. Then, they played Pittsburgh two days later. Again, the visitors opened the scoring with a power-play goal. And again, the Isles could not come back. After falling down 3-0 in the third period, the Islanders ended their goalless drought at just over 103 minutes. The next goalless drought was only 35 seconds. The two quick tallies were enough to give Islander fans hope. But, as it is with the Islanders, the defeat had to be slow and painful. They never quite got over the hump, and fell to Pittsburgh 4-2. This defeat came one week after they dominated the Penguins from start to finish for a 4-1 win in Pittsburgh.
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Hours after that trade was announced, the Islanders took the ice at Madison Square Garden to play the rival Rangers, who were also struggling, for the first time this season. They once again came out flatfooted. The Rangers scored on Evgeni Nabokov on the first shot he faced all night. After one period, the Isles were down 2-0, and they looked out of it after that. The one bright spot throughout this whole ordeal, John Tavares, got the Islanders to within one, but they never got any closer than that. The penalty kill allowed another goal, and the Islanders left MSG without a point. They head right back there this Thursday.
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Tomorrow, the Islanders host the Carolina Hurricanes. For the first time, I am hoping that Rick DiPietro starts in net. Evgeni Nabokov looks tired in net, and Ricky at least deserves a chance.
Now you decide, are the Islanders a circus or a contender? I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments.
Lets go Islanders!!