The Islanders have already been the team on the other side of Sunday’s game.
The one who walks into a season-ending game knowing they have a locked-in playoff spot, while their opponents play the chain, trying to find silver linings.
“I don’t think the confidence has been shaken,” Matt Martin said after the 5-2 loss to Carolina. “Obviously we are disappointed and we had higher expectations for ourselves than what we represented this season. We know it was disappointing. We have to wear this.
Martin, with three games left in a season in which things have been doomed from the start, was ready to mull over the big picture for the Islanders a bit. He still believes the group in their locker room is capable of great things.
But where the Islanders found themselves finding ways to win games in the previous two seasons, they found ways to do the opposite this season.
Take the example of Sunday. The Islanders came out with some leap, but lost a goal after an insane turnover from Noah Dobson sapped their momentum. Later, after Max Domi gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead in the third, the Isles failed to generate any serious power-play chances.
“It’s such a fine line, winning and losing in this league,” Martin said. “We just have to start figuring out ways to get these games out.”
As for the difference between yesterday and today?
“In this league, you’re not going to be at your best every night, but you still have to get wins and win hockey games,” Martin said. “I don’t think we’ve done that enough this season, where when we weren’t having our best game, we didn’t just keep it simple, find a way. We kind of strayed from what we do our best. That’s when games got a little ugly.
“We just have to go back to what we do best as individuals, as lines. And then as a team, everything will come together.
Here and now, however, the Islanders had to try to make the most of their fifth straight loss and try to explain afterwards what they’re trying to get out of the final days of a regular season that they would have liked. forget.
“You always prepare in great detail, just like you ask the players to do,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “Some teams get excited for the playoffs. Were not. We are very professional.
Anthony Beauvillier (upper body) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (COVID-19) each missed their third straight game.
The Islanders held a minute’s silence before the game for Canadiens legend Guy LaFleur, who died on Friday.
Casey Cizikas scored his 200th career point with a secondary assist on Ross Johnston’s goal.
New York Post