The Islanders have had some lean years over the last three decades and their offense is currently fitting right in with some of the worst editions of the franchise during this most recent stretch.
A 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators was the Islanders’ 10th defeat in their last 11 games with an offense that can’t hit the broad side of a barn let alone the back of the net.
Lane Lambert’s men have scored a paltry 18 goals in the last 11 games — an average of just 1.6 goals per game. They’ve scored just one goal in five games and two in another five.
In franchise history, there had been 13 seasons that featured at least one 11-game output of 18 goals scored or fewer. This makes No. 14.
“We’re pressing and we just can’t find a goal when we need it right now,” Lambert said after the loss in Ottawa. “We need to find a way.”
But this has been an organizational shortcoming for the better part of the last 30 years, now. The Islanders experienced multiple 11-game stretches of 18 goals or fewer scored in their inaugural season but didn’t experience it again until the second half of the 1995-96 season. Since then, 13 seasons have included such droughts.
A non-existent power play has certainly aided the drought. They are 0-for-their-last-20 in their last eight games and 3-for-their-last-59 dating back to Dec. 10. It ties a franchise record for the fewest power-play goals scored over a 22-game stretch in franchise history, though the 2018-19 Islanders went “just” 3-for-50 from Feb. 23 to April 6, according to Hockey Reference.
They also haven’t scored a third-period goal in 11 games. That’s a franchise record of futility, per Islanders statistician Eric Hornik.
It simply boils down to the lack of offensive talent the team possesses. Team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello simply chalked up the team’s struggles to “our goal scorers are not scoring.”
“There are no apologies, there’s no excuses for them,” he continued. “These things happen. Unfortunately, all of them have been in a little bit of a drought at the same time.”
The problem is that “these things” have kept happening for this franchise non-stop.
Since that 1995-96 season, the Islanders have had just five instances in which a player recorded 40 or more goals (Zigmund Palffy three times, Jason Blake, Anders Lee). Amongst teams that have existed for the entirety of that span, only the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, and San Jose Sharks have fewer such seasons.
Out of the 26 teams that have participated in every NHL season since 1995-96, the Islanders rank 21st.
To say the Islanders are long overdue for an influx of goal-scoring talent might be one of the more sizable understatements in hockey.