Graziano: It Was Bound To Happen Sometime, The Islanders Lose In Regulation

Andy Graziano
November 27, 2019 - 11:28 am

It was bound to happen at some point. The New York Islanders lost for the first time in regulation in 46 days, getting shut out by the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. After collecting a mammoth 32 of 34 points over a 17-game point streak, head coach Barry Trotz had what will likely turn out to be the quote of the year when discussing the loss to MSG’s Shannon Hogan in the postgame.

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“It’s hard to be hungry when you’re full, and I think we had many guys who were full,” said Trotz. “We were looking for another easy period like the first, and we were unwilling to commit enough in the second and third. Not good enough. I use the term, you have to be hungry in this game. They were more determined than us. We got the result we deserved. The biggest game is the one after a loss, right? We’ve been patient with some guys, but we gotta get going here.”

Anders Lee is stuck on a meager five goals, with none in his last 10 games. Jordan Eberle is still without even one, and Josh Bailey, dropped to a line with Ross Johnston and Michael Dal Colle last night, has two points in his last eight. It’s a good thing the Islanders are not offensively dependent, instead choosing to spread the wealth when it comes to contributing on the front-end. It’s what carried them to that 17-game streak.

The fact that the streak ended is not surprising at all. The way it did might not be so shocking, either. Look, this is a terrific hockey team just coming off a historic run. A run with tremendous late-game comebacks and heroic overtime performances. There was bound to be a big let-down game. This was it. 

Anders Lee

New York failed to generate, well, much of anything after the first 20 minutes, getting only 10 shots in the final two periods and generating nothing that could even be considered medium danger. They made it easy on a Ducks team that was 10-11-3 coming in, and that is not the Islanders forte. But it doesn’t have to send everyone into a tiff that it becomes a trend, either. Trotz simply won’t allow it.

“There’s a certain price you have to pay to win every game. We’ve been paying the price for a long time, and we deserved a lot of the points we’ve gotten. Tonight, we didn’t pay enough, the fee to win, and they paid a little bit more.”

The Islanders win as a team, and they lose as one. That is the way president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has constructed them and that is the way Trotz coaches them. Next up is a trip to Los Angeles to play the last place Kings (9-13-2) and conclude this journey out west. I will be shocked if they don’t come out and blow the doors off Staples Center. 

On Thanksgiving eve in the United States, the Islanders and their fans have plenty to give thanks to as they huddle around an overcrowded table of food with their families. Here is a list (in no particular order):

1. Barry Trotz – Islanders fans deserve him, still proving worthy of such riches?

2. Barry Trotz – (Did I mention him already?)

3. Mathew Barzal – The savior we knew we needed. All-around game improving steadily.

4. Piero Greco – Doing much of the heavy on-ice lifting with the goaltenders.

5. Belmont – The home they needed, the home everyone deserves.

6. Jon Ledecky – Your owner, the people’s owner. Goes into Brooklyn pizza shop to high-five fans after a win? Come on, this guy is terrific.

7. Casey Cizikas – Can he score 20 again? He’s on pace right now. More importantly, he’s playing crucial minutes and winning almost 58% of faceoffs.

8. Johnny Boychuk – Keeps the locker room light as an aging, grizzled vet that all good teams need to have.

9. The fans – Without you, nobody reads this. Without you, nobody is at the games. 

10. My wife and kids – It goes by in a flash, but they have stood by me at every turn, even the wrong ones. Sure, two of the three are Rangers fans, but I love ‘em anyway. Sports, contrary to some beliefs, AREN’T everything. 

You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndyGraz_WFAN