Islanders Need a Serious Wake-Up Call

It’s time the New York Islanders stop hitting the snooze button on their alarm clocks and wake up. They have underachieved for the first quarter plus of the NHL season. Going into Saturday’s action on November 28th, New York has a record of 11-8-4 (26 Points). The first two months of the season for the Islanders has been one where they have been unable to score the key goal, get the timely stop or convert on special teams with the game hanging in the balance in the third period. From afar New York’s record does not appear to be that bad, but anyone who has watched the Islanders so far this season can sum it up in one word and that’s “frustration”.

By the Numbers

When you look at the key stats which is goals scored per game and goals allowed per game the Islanders seem to size up very well so far this season. New York is 11th in goals per game and 7th in goals allowed. New York has struggled in the extra session as they are 1-4 between overtime and the shootout. One of the strengths for this club should be their offense, but over the last month that has struggled mightily. In the last 14 games played, New York has scored four goals or more just three times. The Isles have scored two goals or less in nine of those 14 contests. Secondary scoring which should be a strength for this team has been a major weakness. Of the teams 64 goals scored so far this season, 27 of them have come from John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson. Great improvement is needed in terms of lighting the lamp from Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Mikhail Grabovski. I would also add New York needs greater offensive production from Nick Leddy as he has yet to score a goal and only has five assists in his first 23 games.

Power Play

The Isles power play is in a severe drought, as New York is just 2-36 with the man advantage in the month of November. This continues to be a major problem for the Islanders as it’s currently ranked 26th. With the fire power the Islanders have on offense it is ridiculous how much this team has struggled with the man advantage this season. New York had a golden opportunity on Friday night late in the third period – beginning of overtime to secure a win in Florida versus the Panthers when they had the man advantage. Not only did New York not score but they could not generate any strong opportunities. Something has to give on the power play. Remember it was the power play that cost the Isles their first round playoff series last year versus the Capitals as they went 0-14 with the man advantage in that seven game series. If the Islanders are going to be a contending team this year their production on the power play has to change.

The Positives

There are a number of positives so far this season for the Islanders. In terms of overall team defense, as well as goal tending play from both goalie’s New York has seen great improvement. Last season the Islanders finished 23rd allowing 2.73 goals per game. So far this season New York is ranked 7th allowing just 2.39 goals per game. The penalty kill which was a huge problem during the regular season last year, as it finished 26th is currently ranked 10th. The play from New York’s backup goalie has been night and day in terms of comparing this season to last year. Thomas Greiss has performed like a #1 net minder so far this season with 2.26 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Last year the Islanders main backup goalie Chad Johnson had a 3.08 goals against average with a .889 save percentage. Finally the Islanders have not had an easy schedule the first two months of the season so if the team can step up their play versus a lighter schedule, Isles fans should see a successful regular season.

Follow me on Twitter @TheNLKing