Nov 19, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) sits on the ice after a collision with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul (19) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

How Much Did The November Slump Hurt Islanders?

Jan 27, 2014; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano looks on against the Boston Bruins during the second period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Islanders are not officially out of the playoffs. They’re actually still very much in the thick of things.

Sportsclubstats.com currently have the Islanders at a 0.8% chance of making the playoffs, but there they sit just 7 points out of a spot. Sure, the Isles have now become a bit of a long shot to make the playoffs for the second straight season, but at the moment, not all hope is lost.

It’s safe to assume all fans of the Long Island based hockey club would agree this year has been quite the roller coaster ride. Injuries, trades, big wins, and tough losses have encompassed a season with high hopes and a plethora of disappointment. While the Islanders fight to the finish, if there’s one turning point of the season, it can be pinpointed to one series of events which began on a Tuesday night in November while on a trip north of the border.

A 10-game losing streak does not bode well for any club. The Islanders however, have been fortunate enough to be in the weakest division in the National Hockey League this season, and somehow aren’t that far out of it.

Despite not being in a strong division, the Islanders only have themselves to blame for the position they are in. For those who don’t remember the “Skid of ’13,'” here is a breakdown of the 10-game stretch:

  Away                 

  Home                  

Result                      

Points    

Islanders

Maple Leafs

Loss

0

Islanders

Penguins

Loss

0

Islanders

Flyers

Loss

0

Jets

Islanders

Loss

0

Red Wings

Islanders

Loss

0

Capitals

Islanders

Overtime Loss

1

Penguins

Islanders

Overtime Loss

1

Islanders

Blues

Loss

0

Islanders

Kings

Loss

0

Islanders

Ducks

Loss

0

In 10 games, the Islanders were able to scrape together 2 out of a possible 20 points, or just 10% of total possible points available for the taking. To look at it in a more dramatic sense, if a team pulled off a similar feat over the course of a season, that team would walk away from the season with a whopping 16.4 points (obviously, this is extremely far-fetched and over the top, for perspective’s sake).

Along with simply looking at wins (or lack there of) and losses, let’s take a closer look at some of the statistics along that bleak stretch of Islanders hockey:

Points Per Game: Before the skid, the Islanders were averaging .86 points/game, which had them on pace to finish the season with 70.52 points. After the drought, that number had dropped to .68 points/game, which if they continued on that pace, the Isles would finish the season with 55.76 points. This isn’t a typical stat to measure a team’s performance, but it shows the digression of the team in the respective period of games.

Goals Scored: The Isles scored more than 2 goals ONCE during the stretch. As they have demonstrated throughout the season, the Islanders are not a strong team when they score 2 goals or fewer (2-19-5). They averaged a measly 1.6 goals/game, while they allowed 4.6 goals/game. In addition to not finding the back of the net, the Isles were shutout twice in the 10 game span. You don’t have to be a statistician to see how that can be an issue when trying to win games.

Scoring: What has been a point of concern for the majority of the season, secondary scoring was absent during this time. 16 goals were scored, 9 of which came from the first line of Thomas Vanek (4-4-8), John Tavares (3-6-9), and Kyle Okposo (2-4-6) (Vanek missed 1 of the 10 games). 7 goals scored across three other lines clearly didn’t provide neither the support, nor secondary scoring needed to win games.

Save Percentage: It must be noted that during this period of games, the Islanders were without their number one goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson were between the pipes and the inexperience between the two was painfully obvious. In the 10 games, the two allowed 39 goals on 290 shots, posting a .866 save percentage in the process. On a side note, the team’s PDO was far below the norm (the norm being between 98-102, anything below is considered low, anything above considered high) at 91.5. Of course, goaltenders can only contribute to half of that number, but a number that low will make it extremely difficult for team’s to come out with two points.

Special Teams: Special teams were anything but special. The power play was an abysmal 3 for 31 (9.68%) (League average is 18.22%) and the penalty kill was even worse: allowing 10 goals on 32 PK’s (68.75% on the kill) (81.76 League average). Overall, a big factor in the lack of success during the stretch.

In conclusion, the Islanders didn’t do a whole lot right as a team during the stretch that very well may be the dagger to their season. Injuries of course, didn’t help in that downtrodden period of hockey. There is still a decent chunk of hockey left to be played, with a two week break fast approaching. Whether the Isles make the playoffs or not is another question, but if they don’t, it’s safe to say even just 3 wins during this stretch would have set the team up for a much better position in the final stretch of the season.

Tags: New York Islanders Nhl Puck Drop

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