The Islanders' 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night may be a blow too big to overcome in their late push to the playoffs.
The Isles came out flat, being outshot 22-to-15 through two periods, and fell behind into a 2-0 hole. Josh Bailey's second period goal got them closer, but Ryan Johansen scored into an empty net with 21 seconds left to seal the victory for Nashville.
"We've been a little too late to the party on a consistent basis," Doug Weight said of the team's sluggish starts of late. "It didn't bite us against the Rangers, but it did the last couple games."
New York remains two points behind Boston, but has now played the same amount of games. The Bruins take on the Predators on Tuesday in Boston.
Everything in this Islanders' season was done a little too late: the coaching change, turning to Thomas Greiss as the number one goaltender, the call up of Josh Ho-Sang. Pretty much anything that could have made a difference was done a month or two after it would have really saved this season. The Isles have been so good the last two-and-a-half months, it still got them in the postseason conversation until the waning days of March, but the death knell is officially getting ready to toll now.
It's a shame, because they did control their destiny this last week or two, something that has slipped away from them. And given a chance in the playoffs, I think this team could put a scare into whoever wins the Metropolitan. And hey, if they call up Ryan Pulock and actually choose to have a functional power play these last handful of games, they may be even better. But for right now, it looks like the end is near, and unless they really play lights out these last seven games, we'll have to take a moral victory headed into the summer.