New York Islanders: Playoff hopes quickly fading as road trip is off to imperfect start

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 24: Jaroslav Halak (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 24: Jaroslav Halak (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders enter a small West Coast road trip needing the maximum six points but already failed by losing in OT in Vancouver.

The New York Islanders season ending can be traced back to the deadline when the Isles decided to do very little. However, up to this point the Isles are not mathematically out. It does now seem inevitable that they will miss the playoffs yet again. The Islanders officially have a better chance at winning the draft lottery then they do making the playoffs.

It’s really sad because there are over 10 games left but we pretty much see their fate. The only sliver of hope they had at making the playoffs is by going on a stretch of wins as soon as possible. It is much easier said then done in this league.

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The Isles’ real problem is that they had a four game road trip. In order to not bury themselves they needed to win most of the four games. Every game counts and every point matters for the this team now.

The road trip started with an OT loss In Pittsburgh and it is hard to not be content with that but it’s not two points.

The Isles had an easy chance to recover after a few days off and a game in Vancouver. The matchup vs this Canucks team is one in the Isles’ favor. Already having won earlier this year against them, regardless that this game was on the road, it was winnable.

It seemed as though that was going to happen. Josh Bailey and John Tavares, the usual producers, scored early. They found themselves up 2-0 and playing well. But because it’s  the Islanders they blew that lead. In fact, the Canucks scored 3 straight goals to make the Isles play catch up. Jordan Eberle forced OT but that was only after the Isles very luckily drew a penalty late.

In OT a classic turnover and goalie blunder spoiled the chance for a win. The Canucks scored after Anthony Beauvillier lost the puck and Jaroslav Halak came out of net. Vancouver then hit the back of the empty net for the win.

The loss spoiled Mat Barzal’s homecoming and made it really difficult to tell that he outplayed Calder chasing rival Brock Boeser. So, once again the Isles failed to get maximum points. Needing all 8 on this road stand they are already off pace.

Normally, I am ecstatic when the Isles force OT in back to back road games. But now it’s not nearly enough. It is the situation that they put themselves in. New York needed all 8 possible points out of this trip or at least 7. That is impossible now.

Even Coach Weight is dropping “f-bombs” in press conferences now. It’s a bad culture. That’s a little bit his fault.

Fortunately for the Isles they do not play again until Thursday. It gives them time to regroup. They to get a losing streak ending, big win vs the Oilers in Edmonton.

Next: The Isles of March

The Isles put themselves in a bad situation a long time ago. Their flaws have been exposed for even longer. But this team has now failed to do the only thing they have had to do for the last 7 games: get 2 points out of a game.

It might be too late to make the playoffs but some moral victories will be nice as the season ends.

Maybe start by winning with the team Garth Snow loves trading with in Edmonton. This stretch feels unreal but also so predictable at the same time. Only the Islanders.