Frustration at every turn if you're an Islanders fan. Just when the team looked like it was pulling things together for the stretch run, with six straight wins and 13 points in just seven games, it all went down the tubes. Since then, the Isles have lost seven of nine, including Tuesday night's 8-4 debacle against the last-place Lightning of Tampa Bay. That puts the Isles eight points out of the playoffs with only 11 games to go, and unless your name is Sparky, optimism is hard to come by.
This is the same Islanders team that is 5-1 against the Devils, who lead the Eastern Conference with 40 wins. And making matters worse is the fact that the Rangers are absolutely surging (8-0-2 in their last 10 games) while the Isles are dropping like a stone.
And while eight goals allowed isn't exactly a terrific defensive effort, in their previous four losses, the Isles totaled four goals. They are a tough team to watch, a team that has to outwork
its opponent every night to have a chance to win. That takes a toll.
Mike and the Mad Dog were at the Coliseum Thursday, before the loss to the Rangers, and while their hockey knowledge is as scarce as Eliot Spitzer's common sense, the Dog made a good point to Ted Nolan. "It's nice to win 7-1 once in a while."
That just doesn't happen with this team. If you define a 'laugher' as a game decided by four or more goals, then the Isles have had exactly one of those this season, a 4-0 win over the Lightning on Nov. 1. On the flip side, they've lost five games by four or more, and could end the season with the fewest goals scored in the league. Not much fun there.