With the way the Islanders have played over the better part of half the season, getting swept in a home-and-home by the Capitals seemed about right.
The goaltending couldn't bail out the poor defense, the penalty kill was horrendous and the team now sits below the NHL iteration of .500 at 30-31-10.
Just weeks after the Rangers front office wrote a letter to fans about a rebuild, it's the Islanders who sit at the basement of the Metropolitan Division standings with just 70 points.
The worst part of this whole slide is that this team is mostly unwatchable. Yes, Mathew Barzal is an electric player that will likely walk home with the Calder Trophy and John Tavares could be skating in his last games with the blue and orange. But in the grand scheme of things, those aren't the most exciting incentives to keep watching.
With the playoffs well out of the question, it's time to give some thought to lineup alterations. Now I'm not saying that Doug Weight will actually do these things (because he gives no indication that he likes change) but it'd be a nice attempt at seeing what some unproven and young players can do in a small sample size. Here are some a couple of fixed I'd try over the last few weeks to shake things up a bit and could help for the purpose of evaluating.
Do It For the Gibber
While I've written about -- and been chided for -- how well Jaroslav Halak has played in the face of an inept defense, it's time to give Christopher Gibson the majority of the minutes over the final 11 games.
No, I'm not in the mindset that Gibson will be the next star (or even starting) netminder for the Islanders in the future, but why not give him a shot to prove his worth over the final stretch?
Aside from a tough night against the Capitals at Barclays Center, Gibson has played well in his brief time with the Islanders after his recall from Bridgeport. Why not let him start over the last few weeks? The team is out of the playoff hunt, and they can at least evaluate if they have a goaltender that can be a serviceable backup next season. I don't envision him keeping that .927 save percentage intact, but at least see what he can do.
Aho hasn't been in the lineup since March 2, which is kind of mind-boggling at this point. Obviously he's a young defenseman that's made some rookie mistakes in his brief NHL tenure, but he should most definitely be in the lineup every game going forward. There's no reason why he should continue to be a healthy scratch when Thomas Hickey gets plenty of minutes out there. At this point in time, it should be the complete opposite.
The defense has already played poorly, but at this point, it's worth letting Aho learn things on the fly. There's clearly plenty of skill there, but there's no way he's going to refine it by sitting in a suit in the press box.
This is always a divisive topic among Islanders fans, so some are going to love or hate this, but it's time to bring up Josh Ho-Sang.
This is a lost season that's only getting worse, so give the talented forward a shot to see if he's at all matured on and off the ice. Here's the thing, I know many love Ross Johnston and his physical, tough game that harkens back to an older era of hockey, but he has been a possession nightmare.
We all know Ho-Sang has the skill to be an elite player in the offensive end of the ice -- he's fast and great on his skates. The decision-making isn't quite there yet, and apparently he still has "some growing up" to do, but over an 11-game stretch, putting in Ho-Sang somewhere into the lineup is not detrimental to the organization. After all, this was a team rolling out Jason Chimera pretty regularly.
And speaking of Chimera, it wouldn't be a half-bad decision to insert the man he was traded for, Chris Wagner, into the bottom six. If he's someone who can play a good two-way game, give him an opportunity at killing penalties and being a defensive forward. God knows this team could use a little defense.