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New York Islanders

Depth Perception: Lack of Depth Scoring Magnified by Weekend Results



New York Islanders

Entering the weekend, the New York Islanders were feeling strong about their play. Despite the point gap between them and a playoff spot, the Islanders had won seven of their last 10 games, one of the losses coming in overtime, and had been playing more to their identity.

Out of those seven wins, only one came against a team in a playoff spot. And that was a slim 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. It was a game where if it was not for Ilya Sorokin, the Islanders had no chance to come out on top. And yes, Kyle Palmieri’s game-winning goal with under three minutes to play in regulation.

Beating playoff teams is not something the Islanders have done in 2022-23 and a lot has to do with not just being outplayed, but not getting enough from certain players in critical moments.

When wins are coming, nothing but the result matters. Two points are two points in the NHL and for a team and a fanbase that has not had much to cheer about this season, you take what you can get.

But then the weekend came.

No one looked at the New York Islanders upcoming schedule and thought, “that’s a breeze” in a back-to-back that featured the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. A win or two would have the New York Islanders faithful ecstatic but a win never came as the Islanders lost to the Bruins 6-3 on Saturday, followed by a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

The New York Islanders scored a mere four goals over their last 120 minutes, three coming from the New York Islanders Brock Nelson line. The fourth came off the stick of Zach Parise, late in Saturday night’s loss to the Bruins while on the power play.

Prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello spoke to season-ticket holders about the state of the team. He had this to say regarding the lack of offensive production.

“You want to get into those scores, nine to seven, nine to eight. Sooner or later you are going to be chasing the game at a certain time in the season. So it doesn’t work,” Lou Lamoriello said. “As far as the underachieving, from my end of it, was that a couple of our players, several in my opinion, have not performed up to their expectations of what they can. It’s not something they didn’t want to do. It just did not happen.”

The New York Islanders do not have the offensive star power that the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have to offer.

But out of the six goals allowed to the Bruins, Craig Smith, Erik Haula, and Jake DeBrusk scored three of them. The more elite players in David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, and Brad Marchand also scored, but the Bruins did not have to just rely on them to win.

In the 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ross Colton and Alex Killorn were two of the four goal scorers.

Both these teams did not rely on one line to have success. Their depth scoring is what won them the games. The Islanders got nothing from three of their four lines this weekend and it sank them.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau has not scored a goal in 10 games and only has 10 on the season. He would have had a goal Sunday, but Kyle Palmieri was offside on the play. Kyle Palmieri, a player who has played much better in the second half, has not scored in six games. Yes, he has had a few goals disallowed this season, but it’s about production.

Josh Bailey, the last piece of that line, has just seven goals on the season, with two in his last 10 games.

The Mathew Barzal line, with Zach Parise and Oliver Wahlstrom, were dangerous together to start, and despite the lack of goals, this threesome had not been on the ice for a goal against through eight games together.

But this weekend, they were on the ice for a goal against in each game, having been outshot 12-10, with a CF% of 44.19. When Barzal is on the ice, that number needs to be above 50%, at a minimum.

Was this past weekend a measuring stick on where the New York Islanders are? To a point, yes, but it was a back-to-back situation against two playoff teams.

The Islanders, like Lamoriello said, cannot rely on offense to win. But when going up against teams that do, certain players up and down the lineup need to step up and find a way to contribute. And throughout the season, and especially this weekend, we did not see it.

We just watched one line excel.


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