The difference has been that the Isles have been able to still find ways to win in spite of them. Tuesday night was another example of that as the Islanders defeated the Ottawa senators 3-2 in overtime, in a game that saw New York lose a third defenseman to injury.
Travis Hamonic suffered, what Islander Coach Jack Capuano called, an upper body injury after taking a hard hit into the boards in the second period. The Islanders have already been without both Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky due to ailments.
In lieu of Hamonic, the other five defenseman stepped up to fill the hole and limited the Senators to 18 shots through three periods of regulation and 3:06 of overtime. As a team, the Islanders blocked 14 shots as well -- something that has been very noticeable during their successful November.
"I thought our [defense] played great," Capuano said in his post game address to the media. "We defended alright, but I thought our D did a real good job. They come hard on the forecheck, they're a physical hockey team, and we limited them pretty good back there."
Tuesday's win was not the most well executed game from either side, and there were stretches where the Islanders were hemmed in their own zone, but the home team pulled out the victory. The Islanders added defensive depth has helped them cope with the loss of key personnel on the blue line, but so has outstanding goaltending from Jaroslav Halak.
The Islander goalie won his 10th consecutive game Tuesday night -- tying a franchise record set by Billy Smith -- and was the NHL's number one star of the week.
"It's a team effort," Halak, who had 16 saves on Tuesday, said about the success. "It's not only me. Tonight I wouldn't be able to do it without my teammates and any of the nights. I think everyone deserves the credit for it and one game at a time."
Halak finished the game with an .889 save percentage and made key saves during moments when the Senators were threatening.
"Every game is a different challenge," he said. "Tonight was a weird game. We got two points, but I'm sure everyone knows we can play better."
The 29-year-old goaltender may have more of a challenge going forward with the Islanders potentially missing three defenseman. Hamonic is day-to-day -- the team will know more on Wednesday -- and it is unclear when Boychuk and Visnovsky will return.
The Islanders were stuck playing five defenseman after Hamonic left, which is something they have become all too familiar with doing this season.
"We've done it too much this year where we're used to it now," Hickey said. "I think we've probably done that four or five times. Not something you want to be used to, but everyone's chipping in and it makes it easier."
Seeing players go down with injures is never a positive -- especially key members of the team's defense -- but the fact that the Islanders are still finding ways to win is a sign of how far this team has come.
"We feel like we have the depth that can do the job, but you lose three out of your top four guys it's tough on your back end," Capuano said. "Other guys stepped up and they played pretty well... There's going to be injuries, but it gives other guys an opportunity."