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Power Failure: New York Islanders Power Play Struggles Hitting Critical Level



New York Islanders Oliver Wahlstrom

ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders latest loss was another night of the team’s power-play failing to capitalize on an opportunity to get back into the game. The Islanders went 0-for-2 on the night and didn’t register a shot on their first man-advantage of the evening.

That has seemed to be par for the course of late for New York, which has just one power-play goal in 29 chances in November. Their 10.2 power-play percentage is the worst in the league and their five goals on the man advantage are tied for the fewest among all 32 teams.

The team’s COVID outbreak hasn’t helped the Islanders’ cause, but the power play had been an issue long before it had six of its players sidelined in COVID protocol. Friday was just the latest example of how the power play has struggled.

The New York Islanders didn’t surrender a shorthanded goal, but their suboptimal power play in the second period sucked away any momentum they had and Pittsburgh quickly took advantage scoring the game’s opening goal just over a minute after the penalty expired.

“That’s happened a couple of times here, unfortunately,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “Our power play has been trying. We’re at the bottom of the league at the power play. That’s where are and that’s on the individuals on the ice to execute. We’re frustrated, we’re squeezing it. You see we get an offensive chance on a rush and we have a clear pass and it will pop off our stick right now. We’re squeezing it and we lost some momentum there. There’s no question.

“Our power play the last couple of games, the other team has gotten momentum from our power play. We’ve got to change that as a group. I have to change it. We’ve got to do something because it’s caused us to lose some momentum.”

This week alone has been a rough one for the undermanned Islanders in terms of the power play. On Sunday they surrendered a shorthanded goal 3:31 into the opening period against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Wednesday they failed to score on six man-advantages against the New York Rangers.

While Friday’s second power-play chance was much better and did generate a brief burst of momentum for the New York Islanders, their first was disjointed and the team struggled to cross the blue line.

They didn’t register a shot on net either.

Right now the Islanders have very few options it seems to try and fix their power play. COVID has impacted the lineup, but even the vets that operate on the power play seem to be out of sorts. And there doesn’t seem to be any answers.

“It’s tough to say,” Anthony Beauvillier said when asked about the disconnect on the man-advantage. “Good penalty kills, it’s tough to get chances nowadays. Gripping our sticks a little too much now. It’s not coming easy so we’re trying a little harder, but it’s a huge part of the game. We have to be better. Speaking for myself, being a power-play guy, I think as a group we have to be better in that perspective and definitely working on it. We just have to fight through it.”

The question has become can they fight through it at this point? The Islanders’ power play wasn’t exactly lighting it up before this and with the losses of Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle, the man-advantage had already appeared to be taking a step back.

The Islanders have a pair of divisional games on the road coming up with short trips to Manhattan and Philadelphia. The New York Rangers gave them plenty of opportunities on the power play on Wednesday, but it’s unlikely they’ll get the same number of chances on Sunday.

Still, something has to click for the Islanders to get out of their slump.

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