Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Snap your fingers…go ahead, just do it.
Just like that, the Islanders went from a team that won four of five and looked to be righting their wobbly, patchwork ship to set sail toward at least getting back in the playoff conversation, to a team that has now lost four of their last five, including back-to-back loser point 'efforts' in Colorado and Arizona -- the two easiest buildings of 2016-17 to win in.
It's the inconsistency that has plagued New York all season, from the front office right down to the 23-man roster. And yes, that includes the coaching staff as well, from head coach Jack Capuano to special teams coach Doug Weight.
While Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin continue their search for a team president and currently have themselves set to 'mute,' it looks as though another season of being sellers at the trade deadline and a potential draft lottery is in the cards.
There is no polite way to describe Wednesday night's 2-1 loss to the troubled and wounded Florida Panthers. A team coming into Brooklyn facing an Islanders team off a three-day break, playing their first home game of 2017 and reasonably healthy, save Travis Hamonic, outplayed the home team so badly in the second period that it's a modern day miracle the hockey gods only blessed them with one goal.
In the third, it was a little too late for New York, who, despite outshooting the Panthers 24-11 (12-1 on goal), they could not break through against Roberto Luongo, who told SNY postgame, "It was definitely weird coming back here after last year. Felt so strange walking into the building this morning." Yeah, Bobby Lu, we hear you. The Islanders, 11-8-4 at home, feel the same way it seems more often than not lately.
The offense has gone completely AWOL, scoring only three goals over their last three games. And even though Thomas Greiss continues to be magnificent in goal, he should not have to be counted on to win a 1-0 game, nevermind in three straight games.
Looking up and down the lineup Wednesday night, there were plenty to blame. Andrew Ladd seemed to be breaking through, but he's back to looking rather disinterested. Ryan Strome came in with eight points over his last 10 games, but could have stayed home and been more noticed. John Tavares had three shots (one on goal) in over 18 minutes of ice time and again was not even close to being a difference maker. Jason Chimera and Alan Quine rode the pine for the final eight minutes of the third period and Shane Prince didn't see the ice in the final five.
On the bright side, Nick Leddy continued to look dangerous offensively, often being the only Islander who could safely navigate the transition waters from the defensive zone into Panthers territory. Johnny Boychuk continued to throw pucks at the net at every opportunity and Adam Pelech made his return and played a solid 15:32. Notice a trend? They are all defenseman. You're not going to win too many games when your forwards, save Casey Cizikas (eight shots, seven on goal, 12-3 on faceoffs), are absolutely invisible.
Capuano seemed to have enough postgame, saying "There are some other guys, too -- you can say the veteran guys, but there are a few of the young guys. You watch the game tonight, they were non-factors. What you need to do right now, you have to come to the rink and you have to be a difference-maker. If you don't have that mindset to be a difference-maker, knowing it's a crucial time with games in hand, to play like you played tonight, then you're in the wrong profession as an athlete."
Capuano was seemingly referring to the aforementioned Ladd, Chimera and Strome in those comments, but it's not like GM Garth Snow has exactly given him a lot to work with, either. Anthony Beauvillier and Stephen Gionta are the only healthy forward scratches and Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang are simply not ready to be recalled from Bridgeport. Bracken Kearns, anyone?
At the end of the day, nobody knows what to expect next when it comes to this team, this organization. But it's becoming painfully more obvious that change is not only being shouted for by the fanbase and whispered outside of team circles, it might be an absolute necessity at this point.
Beyond the box: New York placed defenseman Travis Hamonic on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 7, and recalled Scott Mayfield….The Islanders outshot Florida 60-49 (30-24 on goal) for the game, only the 14th time all season they have outshot an opponent…. Islanders defensemen produced 24 of the 60 shot attempts (40 percent)…. The Isles are now 0-10-1 when trailing after two periods this season….Cal Clutterbuck is still looking for his 100th NHL goal, while John Tavares sits two points away from 500 for his career.