Islander Mailbag: “Let’s say hypothetically…”

After a disastrous road trip in Seattle and western Canada where slow starts killed them, the New York Islanders had a chance to correct some mistakes at this latest homestand.

The Islanders improved in one area as their slow starts were not in vain, scoring the first goal in four of the five games, with strong starts in all.

But they countered those strong starts with terrible results, extending their lead in three of the four games and capping their road trip with a 1-2-2 record.

In the third game, the Islanders led 1-0 against the Minnesota Wild, 3-0 against the Washington Capitals and 1-0 against the Boston Bruins. Two of the three were understandably narrow leads, but when you’re a team teetering on a playoff spot and your only strength is finishing games, those points can’t be thrown away like they were on this homestand.

They’re now one point down from the second-place wildcard (50), with the Florida Panthers (47), Buffalo Sabers (45) and Philadelphia Flyers (45) right behind them.

Overall, the Islanders are currently closer to the Flyers than to the New York Rangers (57).

Let’s hypothesize that Lou could trade for a top six winger tomorrow, but it requires first-round picks and a top prospect. Are you even doing it at this point? (@JonnyWax)

Hey Jonny, and thanks for the question. I’d say it entirely depends on which player Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello acquires.

If it’s Bo Horvat with extra time, I’d say yes. Now there’s a lot who would think a trade at this point isn’t going to work. But because of the Penguins’ struggles, the islanders are still close to the final playoff spot.

The problem is teams like the Canucks, and any team that dangles a player in the market will make Lamoriello overpay now that he knows what the need is.

Do you think the sale of Mayfield/Parise/Varly will be discussed at deadline to get the assets needed to carry out a soft retool this summer? Or would Lou’s death certificate be signed as a GM after he fired defiance? (@smilesandisles)

I think if the islanders get out of the crisis by March 3 they should sell some assets. The problem with this is that the Islanders probably won’t have enough of it for Lambert to fold.

I think if no action is taken before the deadline or on the deadline, it will not go over well with management.

This property better find things out. I see many empty seats in the future… (@LurchMob1)

After the third period horn blew on Wednesday, “Lou Must Go” chants rang out from the stands of the UBS Arena.

As long as the islanders remain relevant on the chart, people will show up, but it’s clear that fans’ patience is quickly running out.

Powerplay lost us another game (@Nysportssteve1)

Despite being outplayed by the Bruins after the opening 20, the Islanders had plenty of chances and a power play goal on their five opportunities could have turned the tide.

But 0-for-5 they went.

With the Islanders’ lack of consistent performance, missed powerplay opportunities have scuppered their chances of winning games.

Let’s get to the mailbag. Thanks for your questions:

Why confront Dufour when he won’t play for the last 30 minutes? (@Mbellia_29)

Well I doubt the plan was not to play William Dufour. I think the islanders tried to spark the group by approaching a prospect and playing him in the lineup.

But the only way a spark would fly would be if Dufour replaced a regular. He replaced a struggling Holmstrom and battled the best team in the league.

Instead of continuing to throw the boy onto the ice, Lambert opted to bench him.

I believe in Lambert. Despite this, nothing got out of this group last year either. This is on Lou. And I don’t think ONE striker will fix that. The team needs major surgery (@JPDSalazar)

I don’t think it’s fair to blame Lambert for what transpired. He plays with the cards that are dealt to him and he is not the dealer.

He’s made his fair share of rookie coaching mistakes, but it seems his players just aren’t playing hard enough for him.

Like Barry Defiance, Lambert needs external supplements. And he hasn’t, and the Islanders’ coincidence of 2021-22 doesn’t seem like a coincidence anymore.