Heading into the back half of the NHL Season, the New York Islanders are now out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference. If only they were able to finish games, they might just be in the thick of things.
According to my calculations, the New York Islanders would be at 58 points if they just won the games they played that went to overtime. Which would put them in a wildcard spot ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even winning just half of their OT losses would put them at 53 points and tied with those young Leafs.
Blown leads have been a major theme this season for the New York Islanders. Whether it be because of a bad penalty Calvin de Haan in OT against the Avalanche. The goal Jaroslav Halak let in with 13.2 seconds left against the Panthers or just boneheaded shootout lineups made by the now ex-coach Jack Capuano. Mistakes have put the New York Islanders in this terrible spot.
Breaking It Down
Where the New York Islanders go wrong is blowing leads when going into the third period. Something the Isles made a habit of doing of doing in late October. Whether they played the Sharks, Penguins, Flyers, Canadiens, or Oilers the New York Islanders couldn’t buy a win to save their lives.
In that span, the New York Islanders went 0-3-2, which means they missed out on eight points in the standings. Those eight points would make a big difference on the season.
The Isles might be in a playoff spot, or close to it, without needing to win all of their OT games.
Look this isn’t an issue of having to come from behind. The Islanders are actually ranked fifth in terms of times trailing this season. And eighth in minutes leading, in the entire league.
Just chew on that for a second. The Islanders are often leading are rarely trailing, but still manage to find themselves in a remarkable whole that they might not be able to climb out of.
Maybe all those losses were a blessing in disguise. Because without them the Isles probably don’t get rid of Jack Capuano at the halfway mark of the season.
It’s too early to say that Doug Weight is the sole reason for why this team is finally playing to the potential we all thought they had. But it certainly can’t be discredited with that 3-0-1 record so far.
There’s still a ton of work left before we can say that the Islanders have righted their ship. Namely losing the game in the dying seconds of a game. But so far so