Let’s face it; the New York Islanders played two sluggish games over the weekend on the road. Right now, there’s no need to panic in the Islanders locker room, especially at this early stage of the season. Now they return for some home cooking and the start of a four game, eight day homestand. This stretch of games coming up, with six of the next seven games being played at the Coliseum, is going to be huge for the club.
Playing at home, especially in October, hasn’t been very good to this franchise. They were 17-18-6 in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, which makes sense, given that the team finished out of playoff contention. But last season’s 10-11-3 home record, which was an even uglier 5-11-2 before a late run, was a sign that the improved Isles didn’t improve much in front of their own fans.
Forward Frans Neilsen put it best. “It’s going to be a huge week,” Nielsen said. This stretch of games brings in struggling teams. First is tonight’s opponents, the Buffalo Sabres, who are 0-6-1, worst in the NHL. After that, the Islanders welcome in the Edmonton Oilers (1-4-1) and Carolina Hurricanes (2-2-2). It all starts, though, tonight against the Sabres.
Tonight’s game against the Sabres is a chance for the Islanders to get back in control of things. Buffalo has struggled big-time, only averaging 1.00 goals a game on offense. So this could be the opponent needed for the Islanders to get back to their winning ways.
And the Islanders had a little bit of success against Buffalo last season, going 1-1-1 in three games. Both teams are coming into this contest struggling, the Sabres more so than the Islanders, which should make for one interesting hockey game. It may even be the medicine the Islanders need to get back on track.