Thursday, November 18, 2010
For Isles, this one goes to 11
By Mike Hume
New coach? No matter. The losing streak still spiraled to 11 games.
The snake-bit New York Islanders gave up 32 shots in the first two periods and succumbed to the Lightning, 4-2, Wednesday, with the ringing of pucks off pipes and crossbars supplying a funeral-bell chorus for the Isles’ playoff chances.
The Isles just couldn’t get a bounce last night, hitting more iron than most blacksmiths see in a lifetime. Meanwhile, a Steven Stamkos goal just barely beat the first period buzzer by a split second. Those are the kinds of breaks that keep teams from snapping losing streaks.
Bad luck? Sure. But the sample size of the Islanders season has been about more than just bad luck. And the Isles still scored just twice last night, giving them just 10 goals over the last nine games.
With just 11 points through 18 games the Isles need to snag 79 points over their next 64 games to reach the 90-point threshold that usually signifies the lowest rung on the playoff ladder. To do so, New York needs to claim about 62 percent of the remaining available standings points on the schedule. Over the course of a full season, the Isles haven’t put up a mark that good since they last saw the Stanley Cup finals in 1983-84.
With points awarded like merit stickers in Kindergarten in the post-lockout NHL, do the Islanders still have a chance of turning the corner and getting hot? Maybe. About a third of the NHL is currently playing at a points-percentage of .618 or better. But there has been nothing to suggest that the Islanders are as talented as that top third of NHL teams.
Lighthouse Hockey shares this blog’s appreciation for “Spinal Tap” and writes on a few evident adjustments new coach Jack Capuano made in his debut.