The New York Islanders’ offensive woes didn’t originate in Las Vegas. But the Islanders would be happy to have those issues stay in Vegas as they continue a Western Conference road trip on Monday at the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.
It will be a pivotal game for both playoff contenders.
Each team was off Sunday following games on Saturday. The Islanders remained winless and scoreless on their road trip by falling to the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0, while the host Coyotes earned a much-needed win by outlasting the Washington Capitals 3-1.
The loss to the Golden Knights continued chipping away at the little margin for error the Islanders built by collecting points in seven of eight games (5-1-2) from Jan. 19 through Feb. 11. New York, which opened the road trip by losing to the Nashville Predators 5-0 on Thursday, entered Sunday in third place in the Metropolitan Division but just one point ahead of the two wild cards, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers.
The back-to-back shutout losses may have served as a wake-up call for the Islanders, who produced a spate of living-dangerously victories earlier this month.
New York blew a three-goal lead in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last Tuesday, gave up two second-period goals after leading the Washington Capitals by four in a 5-3 victory on Feb. 10 and overcame a pair of two-goal deficits in a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 6.
“It’s been one thing or another the last few games, whether (it’s) execution or a play where we don’t commit to it and it ends up in the back of the net,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said Saturday night. “And we’ve got to score a goal.”
The Islanders shored up their injury-wracked defensive corps Sunday afternoon by acquiring Andy Greene from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for minor league defenseman David Quenneville and a 2021 second-round draft pick.
Greene was the Devils’ captain and had spent his entire 14-year career with New Jersey. He will add depth to a unit missing Adam Pelech, who is out for the season with an Achilles injury, and Thomas Hickey, a veteran who is battling a lower-body injury with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.
Greene, 37, has two goals and nine assists in 53 games this season.
The Coyotes bought themselves some breathing room Saturday, when they won for just the fourth time in 16 games (4-8-4). The victory over the Capitals vaulted Arizona into a tie for the Western Conference wild-card spots with the Calgary Flames.
“We had that long flight yesterday and we put that kind of effort in,” Coyotes head coach Rich Tocchet said, referring to Arizona’s return Friday from a four-game Eastern Conference road trip in which it went 1-2-1.
“I’m proud. I’m really proud of these guys. We’ve been in tough spots and these guys rose to the challenge tonight.”
–Field Level Media