It was close, but then it got ugly after the Bruins poured in three, third-period goals to stomp the Islanders at home Tuesday night.
After a 5-8-2 record last month, head coach Doug Weight wanted his team to turn the page and look toward brighter things in the new year. However, he saw more darkness overcome his squad, and it is beginning to take a toll on everyone.
"Adversity is hitting us between the eyes right now as a group, as a staff, as players. We've gotta find a way," Weight told The Post's Greg Joyce. "If you're going to use words like flat or a little sluggish at times in the second and third [periods], getting overpowered, it's concerning. But it's not going away. We got three really big games and we gotta figure it out. We gotta go to work [Wednesday] and get back our mojo, our fierceness that we seemed to have let drift."
It appeared the Islanders were ready for a comeback after finishing the first period tied up. But the Bruins kept their forecheck up in the second and third periods, not allowing the Islanders a chance at their own offensive end. Jaroslav Halak held off Boston as long as he could, but even his 32 saves weren't enough.
After facing just nine shots in the first period, Halak saw 29 shots over the second and third while the Islanders only shot 14 over that span. Defenseman Adam Pelech knows that simply won't cut it.
"It's hard to score goals when we're spending the majority of the game in our own zone," he said. "I think our goaltenders have been playing well and lately we've been hanging them out to dry. We all know we need to improve in the 'D' zone and figure out a way to do that fast."
Defense has been an issues for the Isles, and Weight is starting challenge his players by affecting their ice time.
"Some guys have disappeared," he said. "We have to challenge them. We have to challenge some ice times. You can only do so many things. Some guys are going to have to start answering the bell on a consistent basis."
Captain John Tavares believes his team isn't playing at their full potential, and if they continue this slump, they will find themselves out of the playoff race before it truly starts.
"We gotta play a lot better," captain John Tavares said. "It's not good enough from our group, starting with myself, just setting the tone the right way and going out there and playing to our expectation and our standard. But I know the effort and the attitude is always there and the preparation is always there."
The Isles will look to snap their three-game losing streak against the Flyers on the road Thursday.