The New York Islanders played their best game under Patrick Roy last Thursday night when they hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were playing the second game of a back-to-back road set.
The Islanders, now coming off their worst game under Roy, will hope history repeats itself on Tuesday night, when the Seattle Kraken make their lone visit to Elmont, N.Y., in a battle of teams trying to climb back into the playoff picture.
New York has been off since Saturday, when it trailed wire-to-wire in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Calgary Flames. The Kraken remained winless on a coast-to-coast road trip when they fell 3-1 to the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.
The loss to the Flames was the most lopsided setback for the Islanders since a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 15. That was the second game of a winless four-game road trip (0-3-1) that cost Lane Lambert his job on Jan. 20, when Roy replaced him.
Each of the Islanders’ first five games under Roy were decided by one goal until Thursday’s 6-2 rout of the Lightning. But momentum was fleeting Saturday, when New York trailed 3-0 after two periods on its way to falling to 3-3-1 since the coaching change.
The Islanders, who are four points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in the race for the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots, are 8-15 in games decided by more than two goals.
“Not playing your best game doesn’t mean you have to lose hockey games — good hockey teams find ways to win those games,” Roy said. “And that’s what I want our group to understand and learn to do.”
The Kraken learned what it took to make the playoffs last season, when the second-year franchise advanced to the Western Conference semifinals. But establishing consistency has been difficult since then for Seattle, which began the season 8-8-5 in its first 21 games and is 13-13-5 since — a span that includes a nine-game winning streak and a two-game winning streak as well as losing streaks of eight games, four games, three games and two games.
With Monday’s defeat, the Kraken fell to 0-3-0 on their five-game road trip and sit six points behind the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues, who occupy the two Western Conference wild-card spots.
Seattle has yet to lead on the road trip and fell behind 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period on Monday. The Devils outshot the Kraken 29-15 through the first 40 minutes before the visitors collected 13 shots in the third and scored on Will Borgen’s goal at the 10-minute mark.
“In the third period, we decided that we needed to start playing, and that’s how we were supposed to play for the first two periods,” Borgen said. “That’s all it is.”
Tuesday marks the second meeting of the season between the teams. Seattle edged the Islanders 4-3 back on Nov. 16, winning in a shootout.
–Field Level Media