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New York Islanders

Islanders Hoping There’s More To Come For Second Power Play Unit



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

East Meadow, NY–The New York Islanders’ power play was by far the biggest concern surrounding the team as they entered the 2023-24 season. Now, though, it’s fair to say the Islanders’ power play has not only greatly improved but is one of the best in the NHL.

Having scored on 22% of their chances through 18 games, the Islanders’ man advantage ranks 10th after being among the worst in the league last year. However, most of that has been accomplished by the team’s first power-play unit.

Of the 11 power-play goals the Islanders have scored this season, only three have come from the second unit.

The first power play is scoring, so we haven’t had a ton of time, and that’s a good problem to have,” Anders Lee said. “But we do got to get going. We got to get our puck movement down. It’s been a little stagnant.”

Unlike the first unit with Mathew Barzal, the second unit doesn’t have an exceptional puck mover. Compound that with the little amount of time they have when they do get on the ice, quality scoring opportunities are hard to come by.

We usually only get 20 to 30 seconds,” Oliver Wahlstrom said. “You really need to find a good entry and one Grade-A scoring chance, so we need to focus on getting the puck in on the chances we do get.”

The unit’s focus of attack is using shooters to create rebounds in front of the net for Lee to clean up. However, Lee’s production this year has been limited, and he’s not the only member of the unit that can be said of, either.

Although they’ve both scored on the power play, Wahlstrom and Pierre Engvall are sitting on just one goal this season. Ryan Pulock, who has gotten power play time here and there, has also only scored once. Meanwhile, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Sebastian Aho are still waiting for their firsts of the year.

“Sometimes it’s quite good, and sometimes it’s not,” Aho said. “I think we’ve been doing a better job lately than we did at the start of the season.”

The unit has scored twice in the Islanders’ last four games. Last week, Engvall scored the opening goal in the Islanders’ overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks, with Lee potting one the next night in Seattle.

Maybe that’s a sign of more to come for the unit. If so, it would give the Islanders two lethal units on the power play. A thought that seemed impossible 18 games ago.

“Wahlstrom has a good shot off that side, Aho is doing a good job up top and Lee is doing a good job in front of the net,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “We just have to continue working on it.”