Islanders associate head coach Lane Lambert kept his assessment of a misfiring offense simple and brief heading into Monday night’s meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“We want more pucks to the net,” Lambert said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “We didn’t feel like we were aggressive enough last game and it’s something we want to do tonight.”
The Islanders suffered their first regulation loss in six games on Saturday when they were shut out 2-0 by the Washington Capitals. In their first two games following a 12-day layoff, the Islanders have been outshot 68-48 and have scored just three goals in six periods of play.
“We can all agree that we just need to be better everywhere,” defenseman Andy Greene said. “We did a lot of good things, we were just a foot off on our execution here or there. Those games where we execute, we’re playing with much more speed and pressure and getting in on the forecheck.”
There is still time for the Islanders to turn things around this season, but the clock is ticking toward crunch time. They have an opportunity to keep trending in the right direction Monday night at UBS Arena against a Flyers team that has lost seven straight games. The Islanders are 4-1-1 in their last six.
“We’re not really concerned about how many they’ve lost in a row,” Lambert added. “We’re just concerned about playing our game.”
The sooner they find their game, the better. The Islanders sit in dead-last in the Metropolitan Division — five points behind both the Flyers and New Jersey Devils. However, they’ve played the fewest games in the Eastern Conference (30) and five fewer games than the Carolina Hurricanes, who have the second-fewest games played in the division.
Despite those games in hand, the Islanders have to make up 23 points just to get into the No. 3 spot in the Metropolitan, which is the last playoff spot.
“I don’t think it’s overwhelming at all,” star center Mathew Barzal added. “We have a ton of games at hand. There are 50 or so games left in the season. We’ve been in situations before where we’ve been down and out of a playoff spot and we’ve battled back.
“This team has a lot of resilience and a lot of character and we’re not feeling overwhelmed at all.”