A recent stretch of five games without a loss gave long-suffering New York Islanders fans a glimmer of hope that the franchise had turned a corner and was beginning to take steps towards being competitive in the Eastern Conference.
It was a 10-day span that saw the team clicking on all cylinders and picking up nine out of a possible 10 points.
Reality set in Monday night when the squad was embarrassed in a 7-2 loss to the New York Rangers. The Islanders were out-shot 52 to 20 and gave their opponents far too many scoring opportunities, with sluggish defense and a lackadaisical overall effort.
Roloson made 45 saves, but was overcome by a frenzied offensive attack that bombarded him with five unanswered goals over the course of the second and third periods.
The red-hot Sidney Crosby comes into town on Wednesday night as the Islanders host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum. Crosby has recorded at least one point is his last 25 games and has 26 goals and 24 assists in that span.
The Penguins are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and will look to take advantage of the Islanders' vulnerable defense.
On the positive side, P.A. Parenteau has recorded six points in his last six games and Rob Schremp posted 11 points in the month of December. However, the Islanders' recent history dictates that when they take one step forward, they take two backwards shortly afterwards.
Fans must take a wait-and-see approach as the hockey season progresses.