Jack Capuano admitted he’s not a “stat guy” after the Islanders’ latest debacle on Tuesday -- don’t get excited, advanced-stats gang, he wasn’t even talking about those -- but even he had to mention the most ridiculous of all the ridiculous numbers coming out of this 8-15-5 team.
The Islanders are now 0-13-3 when scoring two goals or fewer. In a defense-first league, in a division where teams such as the Rangers, Flyers and Devils pride themselves on playing low-scoring games, the Islanders haven’t won when scoring twice.
And they won’t win any games without support for the top line. John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo have generated pretty much all of the offense during this 0-5-2 slide. If you went through and counted scoring chances, Casey Cizikas’ fourth line would probably be next.
That leaves a very soft middle.
Frans Nielsen’s hot start has evaporated, culminating in his missed penalty shot that could have changed Tuesday’s game drastically. Nielsen has no points in six games.
Of course, his wingers may have something to do with that. Michael Grabner is now at 24 games without a goal, and 18 games without a point. Josh Bailey is at 17 games without a goal. That’s losing hockey, period. These are allegedly top-six guys who aren’t just slumping, they’re liabilities.
Peter Regin is at no points in 15 straight. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has no points in six.
The defense, already hammered day in and day out, isn’t helping much offensively. Travis Hamonic has no points in 14 games, Thomas Hickey has no points in 11.
Ryan Strome, meanwhile, was named AHL player of the week. Brock Nelson, who will almost certainly draw back in here for Thursday’s game with the Blues (I’d bet for Regin), has played nine fewer games than most of the other forwards, but he’s tied for eighth in team scoring.
One point behind the departed Matt Moulson.
We can all yell about the porous D, about the shaky goaltending, about the overall defense, the PK, the PP, the coaching, the GM, the owner. Too many guys who got it done last season, who aren’t over the hill or on the roster to pad the salary cap, have simply disappeared this season.
If that doesn’t change, nothing else will.