Get Trounced by Hurricanes at Barclays Following Three-Week Trip
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Just 24 hours after the Barclays Center hosted “Biggie Night”, the New York Islanders came up very small in their long-awaited return to the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.
Coming off the longest road trip in franchise history, the playoff-hopeful Islanders suffered an ugly 8-4 loss to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes Monday night in front of 12,785 fans in Downtown Brooklyn.
The defeat ended the Isles’ 11-game home points streak (9-0-2), their longest since 1982, and dropped them a point back of Toronto for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.
Carolina, which improved to 3-0 against New York this season, also chased Jean-Francois Berube out of net, and then peppered Thomas Greiss for the remainder of the evening, putting a damper on what the Isles hoped would be a sweet homecoming after nearly three weeks on the road.
"Disappointing, certainly at this point in the season. Especially how crucial each game is for us." team captain John Tavares said as the Isles prepared to board a plane to Carolina for Tuesday night’s back end of this home-and-home set.
“We get a chance to redeem ourselves right away,” added Tavares.
The Isles must do so with great urgency as they have just 14 games remaining to hunt down their third postseason spot in as many years, and second in a row since moving here last year.
They did get off to a fast start Monday as Ryan Strome scored the game’s opening tally at the 9:11 mark of the first period.
Calvin de Haan actually gave the Isles a brief 3-2 lead early in the second stanza, but the Hurricanes, fueled by Jacob Slavin’s hat trick, lit the lamp four straight times to take command of the game for good.
"The first seven minutes, I thought we would win 8-0," Islanders interim coach Doug Weight noted.
“We looked like we hadn't missed a beat, and that was it. The last 53 (minutes) was completely an about-face. ... We were just bad all over the ice, goaltenders included. There's no hiding this one that's for sure."
Rookie Josh Ho-Sang provided a bright spot in his Barclays debut, scoring his second career goal and adding an assist for New York, which posted an impressive 5-3-1 mark on its epic odyssey through three time zones before laying an egg on home ice.
"All we can do is keep trucking forward," Tavares added. "We're still in a good spot… We know we're right there battling for that last wild card and there's a few other teams there.”
Injured forward Casey Cizikas and Alan Quite continued to sit out Monday after both missed significant parts of the trip due to injury. But Weight indicated that one, or maybe even both, could be in line to get back on the ice Tuesday night in Carolina.
"It's obviously great to see Casey and Quiner out there today," Weight said during Monday’s morning skate in Carolina.
"Casey is close and so is Alan, but they can't go tonight. I think they're going to come on the trip and we're going to keep it day-to-day. Both are close and I'd love to have two or three fresh bodies in [Tuesday] night, but at the same time you can't risk losing them for a longer period of time."
Nor can the Isles afford losing many games at all as they continue this second-half push to the postseason.