The vibe around the Islanders has been completely different over the past seven days.
The results, however, have not changed all that much.
After dropping their last game before the All-Star break, 3-2 in overtime to the Panthers on Saturday night at UBS Arena, the Islanders are just 1-2-1 under new coach Patrick Roy.
And parallel to the rest of the season, all three losses have been by one goal after Oliver Ekman-Larsson notched the winner for Florida.
The Islanders have certainly looked much more engaged under Roy than they did Lane Lambert, and the numbers have mostly backed up the eye test.
But that does not get them any points in the standings, which is what they need right now.
Saturday followed a familiar script, in which the Islanders showed some resilience throughout an ugly game, only to fall short late.
Going into the final 20 minutes, momentum looked to be on the Islanders’ side after Simon Holmstrom had tied the game at one, winning a battle for the puck off a faceoff and slotting it home at the 16:29 mark of the second.
But here came the same old problems after Samuel Bolduc tripped Mackie Samoskevich at 5:12 of the third.
Matthew Tkachuk made short order of the power play, deflecting Aleksander Barkov’s shot past Semyon Varlamov for a 2-1 lead at 5:59.
Forty-nine games into the season and the Islanders have yet to kick their habit of taking costly penalties.
But they nearly overcame that as well, with Kyle Palmieri converting Noah Dobson’s cross-ice feed at the 18:31 mark of the third to tie the game at two.
That got the game to overtime. But for the 12th time this year, the Islanders fell in the extra period, barely touching the puck before Ekman-Larsson finished off a breakaway.
The game, on the whole, was a choppy and relatively low-event affair.
But after Varlamov allowed four goals against Montreal on Thursday, the Islanders had to be pleased with his 34-save effort on Saturday — which marked the first time he’d started back-to-back games since April 2022.
Varlamov was a big part of the reason this didn’t get out of hand in the second period, when the Islanders spent large portions of time stuck in their own end and unable to clear the zone.
Unlike the last couple games, in which they dominated the puck for long periods of time, the Islanders struggled in transition against a red-hot Panthers team, which came into the night 6-2-2 over their last 10 games.
Sam Reinhart did get Florida on the board at the 7:56 mark of the second, converting form the low slot on the power play from Tkachuk’s feed behind the net.
But the combination of Varlamov and a committed effort from the Islanders’ defensemen stopped the game from spiraling.
Of late, it has been the Islanders’ offense coming up short more often than their defense.
That may have a lot to do with why January was so ugly, with the Islanders turning in a 3-7-3 record over the month, prompting a coaching change last week.
A year ago, after a similarly bad January, Lou Lamoriello jolted the group by trading for Bo Horvat and the Islanders surged into the playoffs.
He is hoping that the arc of 2024 will rhyme with that of 2023.