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.