Mistakes, Powerplay the Reason for the Islanders’ Recent Dry Spell

Following a 3-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday night, their second loss in as many nights, the Islanders fell to 4-4-2 in their last ten games. The team has lost four straight at home, and has hit one of their very few rough patches of the year, with only themselves to blame.

The Islanders have been a very solid, four line team this year. They experienced some injury issues in the middle of the year, but have shored that front up with the acquisition of Tyler Kennedy at the trade deadline. But things after the trade deadline have not been the same for the team. Their powerplay has not scored in it’s last 12 tries, despite the formerly abysmal penalty kill being successful in its last 20 go arounds, and they are finding it troubling to score overall. The first powerplay unit still hasn’t found it’s mojo with Kyle Okposo, and they haven’t had a consistent player on the blueline with the unit, having Nick Leddy, Lubomir Visnovsky, Frans Nielsen, and Johnny Boychuk all getting spins. They got their chances against Carey Price to no avail, but other than that nothing has been brewing. 

Silly mistakes have also been to blame for the struggles, and the game against Montreal personified exactly what the Islanders have done wrong. The first goal was the result of a poorly timed Thomas Hickey pinch at the redline, and the second from Michael Neuvirth’s mishandling of the puck behind the net. The Islanders have been too lenient with the puck in their last group of games, dating back to Strome’s blunder in overtime that lost them the game against Dallas. 

The recent struggles certainly haven’t come at the best time of the year with only 11 games left (after the one tonight against Montreal) but it’s nothing to panic too much about yet, unless the trend continues. The Islanders have escaped this year so far with little problems, outside of injuries to Kyle Okposo and Nick Leddy. The playoffs are a whole new game, and you can get by with a lackluster powerplay, although it’s not recommended. The penalty kill is the big factor, and it has dramatically improved over the last handful of games. Once Nick Leddy returns, the Islanders will have their full lineup back, but need to get back on track beforehand. The team still sits eight points ahead Washington for the wildcard and 15 points ahead of Ottawa overall. 

Six of the Islanders’ remaining eleven games will come against playoff teams. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Islanders’ New Defense is Set for Now and the Future

Just over two weeks after the Islanders locked up Nick Leddy for seven years, Garth Snow and his team signed their other top-2 defenseman long term. The Islanders announced on Thursday afternoon that Johnny Boychuk would be returning for an identical seven years, but at six-million per year. Boychuk, acquired on October 4th, has put up career number with the Islanders this season, with seven goals and 32 points in 59 games. He and Leddy are both top-20 in the league for shots attempted and are the Islanders’ most consistent defensive pairing.
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Winners and Losers of the 2015 Trade Deadline

The trade deadline has come and gone, with a flurry of deals, some great, and others leaving us shaking our heads. Many of the highly sought out players like Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek, Jeff Petry, and Erik Cole were traded, but some other wild cards were also thrown into the mix.

Many teams shored up their rosters for the playoffs, while some did the exact opposite and sat on their hands the entire day. Here are some of our picks for the winners and losers of the trade deadline.
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Jagr Traded to Florida, Clarkson to Columbus in Big Turn of Events

Well, general managers certainly don’t seem content on waiting until Monday to make trades after all? After a flurry of activity yesterday afternoon, today, by some grace of god, took the cake. Both Jaromir Jagr and David Clarkson (do you believe in miracles?) were traded, igniting what appears to be a fire sale for both franchises. Dave Nonis managed to partially erase the mess he started, and did what many people thought was to be impossible in trading David Clarkson.
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Big Day: Winnik, Sekera, and Tlusty All Traded

Less than a week before the trade deadline, some pieces up for sale found their new and temporary homes. Wednesday afternoon, all in a matter of three hours of each other, Daniel Winnik, Andrej Sekera, and Jiri Tlusty were all traded. Tlusty heads out of Carolina and will joins the Jets, while Andrej Sekera also leaves Carolina and goes to Los Angeles. Daniel Winnik, one of Toronto’s bright spots this year, was traded to Pittsburgh.
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Two Possible Suitors for Jaromir Jagr

Although just turning 43 years old on February 15th, Jaromir Jagr still has a lot of hockey left in the tank. Jagr, much like he did with the Bruins in 2013, can provide a lot both on the ice and off the ice for a team looking to make a deep run in the playoffs. Jagr has 29 points in 53 games this season, averaging 17:58 time on ice per game. His stats this season, per 60 minutes played, are still good enough to be a second liner in the league, and he also has the advanced statistics to back it up.
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Buffalo Acquires Evander Kane in 7-Player Blockbuster

Evander Kane’s end in Winnipeg was not an “if” anymore, it was a “when”. The way it happened, however, was not as many had expected. With numerous teams competing for his services for next season, including Washington, Vancouver, and Philadelphia, the Buffalo Sabres came to the forefront late Wednesday morning and acquired not only Kane, but his teammates Zach Bogosian in a deal. The blockbuster trade involved a first round pick from Buffalo, as well as seven players, all of whom were drafted by the teams that traded them today.
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Most Disappointing Players of the 1st Half

Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers

Sophomore slumps are real, and they have been real for quite some time now. The latest victim to this is second overall pick from 2013 from the Panthers, Aleksander Barkov. In his rookie year last season, he posted good numbers, nothing spectacular but still solid for a young player. He had eight goals and 24 points in 54 games, while only notching ten penalty minutes. This year, he has three goals and nine points in 30 games, and although still young, this is a disappointing year for Barkov when he was expected to progress more. His ceiling remains high, however, and if he bounces back the Panthers can become and even scarier team.
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Islanders Defeat Rangers 3-0 in Biggest Win of the Season

It’s been almost 20 years since the Islanders and Rangers played this meaningful of a game, and it’s only January. The teams embarked on their second meeting of the year, after the Islanders won the first one in October by the score of 6-3. Halak made 40 saves that day, in his first big performance as an Islander. Now, the team has bonded and matured, and has claimed the first spot in the Metropolitan Divison, and showed exactly why they are in that place.
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A Whole New Season for the Rangers

Last year, the New York Rangers surprised many by making it to the Stanley Cup Final, after even being written off before the first round even started. The Rangers defeated the Flyers and Penguins in 7 games during the first two rounds of the playoffs, and defeated the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games to win the Eastern Conference title. They then lost in 5 to the Los Angeles Kings, although the series was much closer than the series length may have indicated. The 2014-15 Rangers are much different, and maybe even better.
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Benning, Desjardins Have Successfully Changed the Culture in Vancouver

Last season, the Vancouver Canucks did not play like the Vancouver Canucks. They finished sixth-to-last in the league, their worst finish in a long time. Last year was the first and only season John Tortorella would coach the Canucks, and it would also be the last season Mike Gillis would be the general manager.
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New Year, New Bruins?

After displaying inconsistent (to put it lightly) play through the first 40 games of the 2014-2015, it’s become obvious that Boston Bruins need to make a trade or two. Many fans and analysts have wondered what direction they will go in, either build for the future (2015-2016), or make numerous additions to club to help them spark a second half turn around.
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