I did my own review of the Islanders offense for the season and kind of drew a line around the Flyers game on 1/19 where Campoli finally could not play anymore with his injury.
I think that's a fair point to say that was the beginning of the end with the injuries starting to wear down the roster, of course the veteran forwards played a few more weeks.
I'm sure Islander fans remember this game well. Isles had a three goal first period, lost 5-3 on some bad bounces. Afterward Ted Nolan felt the players cheated the system and was upset with the effort and reminded everyone the club could not win games that way.
At the time (Martinek and Witt) were out for that game but Mike Sillinger was healthy and the only regular forward out (aside from Sim/Bates) was Chris Simon with Tim Jackman in the lineup. Hilbert, Fedotenko, Sillinger (who's final game was in February) were all still in the lineup.
At that point Isles had played forty five games of their schedule, a bit more than half.
Goals scored: (shootout goals in wins and losses added skew numbers a little)
Isles scored 111 goals while allowing 127 from opening night until 1/19.
Afterward Isles in thirty seven games:
Isles scored 72 goals while allowing 107 the final thirty seven games.
Isles had thirty three goals in February which was better than they scored in the month of November where they scored thirty goals and played two more games.
March Isles scored only twenty two goals and allowed forty six.
All in all it's fair to make a case here even as far back as January 17th these veterans did not do their part offensively. A few of them can talk about the kids not being ready and not to go with a lineup of kids but a fair counterpoint can be made based on numbers the last ten games were no worse than the veterans in November.
Isles had over forty games with two or less goals scored.