The news hasn’t been good for the Islanders at all this season, but somehow it got worse Sunday. They lost defenseman Travis Hamonic for four to six weeks to a suspected broken right thumb, an injury suffered when he blocked a shot on Saturday night that deflected onto an Edmonton stick for a goal.
The Islanders lost to the Oilers in a shootout, 4-3, dropping their record to a disappointing 4-6-2 heading into Monday night’s game at Barclays Center against the Canucks, who at 4-7-1 are one of only four teams with a worse record.
Adam Pelech will be called up Monday to take Hamonic’s spot and the Islanders will have to begin to dig out from their ugly start without one of their most prominent defensemen.
“We’re going to have to make the best of it,” Jack Capuano told Newsday on Sunday. “Travis was playing power play, first-unit penalty kill, 21-plus minutes a night, alternate captain. Pelly can do the job when he comes up. It’s the same as always when we lose someone. It’s an opportunity for other guys to step up.”
Capuano said he’ll play Pelech, a lefthanded shot, on the right side with Nick Leddy. Pelech played the right side in three of his seven games last season for the Islanders and handled himself well, though he has been on the left side for Bridgeport this season.
The Islanders have failed to win five times in games in which they have held a lead or been tied late in the third period, and that’s why there is no cushion to soften Hamonic’s loss. But they are a desperate team in need of victories, so they must solve their issues regardless.
Chief among them lately have been special teams. The Isles have allowed nine power-play goals in the last six games, including two to the Oilers on Saturday night that erased leads. Their power play is 4-for-35 and failing in key moments.
“The best games we’ve played on the power play are games we’ve gotten pucks to the net. It’s a cliche, but it’s a fact,” Capuano said. “[Edmonton] got a shot to net last night and it was obviously a costly one for us, but they made something happen.”
Notes & quotes: Johnny Boychuk was sore after an awkward crash into the boards in the second period Saturday night but should be ready to play Monday night.