Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Playing better of late, Flames aim to extend Isles' woes

Field Level Media
18 Nov 2023, 09:55 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

It could be seen as an unlucky seven or an ugly seven for the New York Islanders.

Any way they want to look at it, the Islanders are desperate to change their fortunes when they finish their current road trip against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

The Islanders arrive in Calgary on a seven-game skid (0-4-3) after a 4-3 shootout loss Thursday to the host Seattle Kraken. New York had plenty of chances to end the slide, but lost an eight-round shootout -- a second consecutive extra-time defeat -- and is now ahead of only the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division.

"We never throw up our hands," said captain Anders Lee, whose first-period power-play goal snapped a 10-game point drought. "It's frustrating, for sure, but there's no quit in this team, there's no quit in the group. That's why we're playing good hockey. It's just not getting the results."

The Islanders have opened the scoring in each of their past three games, and 11 of 16 outings this season, but been done in lately by a horrible penalty kill.

They have allowed 12 power-play goals in 24 short-handed situations over the seven losses, three in both of their past two games. Those struggles -- along with having been outscored 16-4 during the third period of their last nine games -- are making every clash more of an uphill battle.

"Sometimes you gotta get kicked in the teeth, and I think that's what's happening right now," forward Casey Cizikis told the Hockey News about their penalty-killing woes. "But when it comes down to it, when we have the puck on our stick, we got to get it out."

The news is not all bad for the Islanders. Bo Horvat is on a four-game point streak and Mathew Barzal is riding a three-game run.

The Flames are coming off an impressive 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, which has them on a 4-1-1 run since snapping a six-game slide.

"It's definitely a confidence boost, for sure," defenseman Noah Hanifin said. "We've been playing pretty good hockey here as of late. Obviously Vancouver, they've been on a roll, they're a great team; I thought we did a good job of handling them. ... We played them the right way, grinding them down as the game went along, that's something we've been trying to do lately."

The victory gives Calgary wins in consecutive games for only the second time this season, and a pair of struggling stars finally broke out of lengthy slumps.

Jonathan Huberdeau broke an 11-game goal-scoring drought and added an assist, while Elias Lindholm snapped a 10-game goal slump in a three-point outing.

"When you start creating, the confidence just comes," said Huberdeau, who was benched for the third period in his team's previous home game.

"Every time you're on the ice, you're going to do something good. Your defensive game's going to get better, you're going to be in a better position, that's what it was (Thursday). ... It was a big win."

--Field Level Media

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