Five Reasons For the Islanders Early Season Success

By Kenny Conrade
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Nov 24, 2014; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) fight in front of the Islander bench during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Another major key for the Islanders so far has been their discipline; not only in staying out of the penalty box but also in all facets of their game. To this point in the season the Islanders have taken the fifth least penalties in the league at 65 total. This is key because especially early on, the Isles penalty kill was atrocious. It has been better of late but because of that start, they sit 29th in the league in PK%, only killing off opposing teams powerplays 73.8% of the time. That 73.8 rate puts them at 29th in the league, just ahead of the defensively challenged Philadelphia Flyers.

This discipline is not only found in the small number of trips they’ve taken to the penalty box, but also in this young team’s commitment to playing on both sides of the puck. As any hockey fan knows, defense is not only the job of the defensemen on the ice but is a five man commitment. If the forwards don’t help out the defensemen, they’ll be constantly outnumbered and will be eaten alive on the back-end. This Isles team is unlike teams of recent years in that they’ve executed this idea of team oriented defense to a tee. This has certainly been aided by the addition of defensive minded forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin, but this has been a full team effort.