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New York Islanders

Islanders Power Play Missing Link, Holding Them Back From Full Potential

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders failed to push their win streak to six games as they struggled mightily against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in the 3-0 loss. One of the biggest reasons for their demise was their lack of success on the power play.

The New York Islanders went scoreless on their three power-play chances against as they mustered just three total shot, two of which were considered high-danger chances.

And this was a game where the Islanders had failed to generate many chances at five-on-five and needed their power play to help turn the tide.

READ MORE: Blues Goalie Binnington Agitates, Flops, and Amuses Islanders

Not to mention, the Islanders’ power play allowed a shorthanded goal in the third, which gave the Detroit Red Wings a two-goal cushion.

On the Islanders’ five-game winning streak, the power play had operated at 15.38 percent, slightly better than the cumulative 14.7 percent they entered Saturday’s game with.

Before the loss to Detroit, the Islanders had come through just five times on 34 chances.

They leave Detroit with their power play at 13.5 percent, five for 37.

If you look at how the Islanders have played this entire season, their offense has come to play, having scored 3.42 goals per game through Saturday’s contest. Despite the uptick in offensive production, their defense has only allowed 27 goals through 12 games, 2.25 goals against per game.

The penalty kill has been a saving grace, allowing just four goals on 42 power-play chances against. That’s good for 90.48 percent.

And we can’t forget about the goaltending, who have stopped a combined 344 saves on 374 shots (.920 SV%).

The one missing piece that has kept the New York Islanders from reaching their full potential is their power play.

The Islanders have a new power-play coach this season in John MacLean, who was with the San Jose Sharks last season. The Sharks operated at 19 percent last season, while the Islanders were 12th in the league at 22 percent under Jim Hiller’s tutelage.

For the most part, the Islanders’ power play has looked like this way this season:

Power Play 1:

 

Power Play 2:

The one change made this season was the addition of Ryan Pulock back on the power play (second unit) with Robin Salo out of the lineup and serving as the Islanders’ seventh defenseman. Also, Nelson has positioned himself on the right end wall as a one-time option.

All five goals have come from the top power-play unit, as Anders Lee has three, with Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson scoring one each. One of Anders Lee’s power-play tallies came on a five-on-three advantage against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

The power play has scored five times but sits with an Expected Goals For of 7.82. If the Islanders were to have eight power-play goals on the season, that would bring their percentage up to a respectable 23.5 percent.

They have been on the power play for 64:24 TOI.

Brock Nelson has accumulated the most shots on the power play with 15, with only three being considered high-danger. And that’s been the issue.

When the Islanders find themselves in prime shooting chances, we have seen them be a bit too pass-happy, as it appears they are looking for that perfect goal. It has also led to turnovers, 14 to be exact.

And other times, we have seen players shoot the puck when there is no lane, leading to blocks and potential scoring chances for their opponents.

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