Mar 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Islanders beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
1. Can the Isles Find Consistency in Special Teams?
It’s no secret that the Islanders haven’t been able to find consistency on special teams all season long and that could be their Achilles-heel come playoffs.
To start with the penalty kill, it has been much, much better over these past few weeks. Before surrendering one powerplay goal against the Wings on Sunday, the Isles had not surrendered a powerplay goal in 12 games, going 25 for 25 on the kill in that span. The Isles will look to keep this area of their game going strong come playoffs.
As for the powerplay, it has been pretty awful over these past few weeks. Prior to Sunday’s game in which they scored three powerplay goals, the Isles were five for 35 on the powerplay in the month of March. One change I saw on Sunday was that the Islanders were sticking two guys in front of the opposing netminder as opposed to just one, a change that obviously payed off.
Special teams are crucial come playoffs, not only because of the obvious goals for and goals against that result but also because of momentum shifts in games that they cause which we all know is a key factor in the playoffs.
The Islanders will take on the Blue Jackets twice, the Sabres, the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins over the next five games to decide who gets home ice come playoffs.
Lets Go Islanders!!