VANCOUVER, British Columbia — It’s starting to get late early for the Islanders.
Getting on the road for the first time this season was meant to help, but the Islanders started off their four-game swing through the Northwest by losing 4-1 to a beleaguered Edmonton team playing its first game under a new head coach.
Now comes the only game of the trip against a team playing good hockey right now with the Canucks on Wednesday night in what should be a raucous Rogers Arena awaiting former captain Bo Horvat’s homecoming.
Not quite what the doctor ordered for a team that does not seem to have many answers for its third-period struggles at the moment.
Monday night was typical of the Islanders’ performances of late as their losing streak reached five games.
The Islanders took the lead.
The Islanders played a structured first two periods.
The Islanders took two penalties in the third.
The Islanders gave up two power-play goals.
The Islanders lost and coach Lane Lambert was short on explanations after the game.
“I don’t have an answer for that,” he told reporters, asked why scoring a second goal has become so hard for his team lately. “Simply because we put pucks to the net, we had opportunities. We have to capitalize on our scoring chances. We had plenty of shots, we had plenty of traffic. We’ve gotta find a way to get pucks in the net.”
Right now, the Islanders are a team whose every mistake seems to spiral, crushing whatever hard-won momentum they might have.
It is a brutal cycle and it is playing out far too often.
“Guys are sometimes trying to do a little too much,” Lambert said. “It kinda works in reverse a little bit. There were certainly moments when we had some sustained pressure in the third period. I thought we could’ve had a little bit more but we dig ourselves a hole.
“We’re doing that a lot. We have to find a way to not do that anymore.”
Adam Pelech’s return to the defense corps on Monday is a major help, but he and Scott Mayfield have both dealt with injury issues and may be less than 100 percent.
And as pressure mounts to turn things around, it also does so on Lambert, who dealt with fans calling for his head on Saturday at UBS Arena.
“At the end of the day, what we need right now is results,” captain Anders Lee told reporters in Edmonton. “We gotta find a way to get one in Vancouver.”
After Monday’s loss to the Oilers, the Islanders have now taken a penalty while on the power play eight times this season. They have scored just six power-play goals.
The Islanders did not practice on Tuesday in Vancouver.