New York Islanders Next Three Games Are Critical

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: Jason Chimera
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: Jason Chimera /

To say the New York Islanders are struggling of late would be putting it nicely. They are 5-9-2 since the beginning of December and with their loss to the Boston Bruins have fallen out of a playoff spot.

Tonight’s game in Philadelphia will be the 41st game of the season for the New York Islanders. It officially marks the halfway point for the Islanders and I think it’s safe to say we still don’t know what to expect from this team.

Offensively they have been lead by a dynamic first line of Josh Bailey, John Tavares, and Anders Lee. Bailey is tied for the league lead in assists (Both Bailey and Jakub Voracek have 38.) Bailey is also second in the league in scoring (50 points) and Tavares is tied for third (49). To put the cherry on top Lee is third in the league in goals scored with 24.

The second line has the dynamic duo of Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle. Barzal has 36 points and Eberle has chipped in 29. The combination of the first two lines has helped the Islanders score the second most goals in the league (137).

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Unfortunately, the Isles have not been able to count on their defense or goaltending seemingly all year. Scoring the second most goals in the league is great, however, they have also allowed the second most goals (144).

Lack of Goaltending

To begin the year I thought the combination of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss would be great. To this point, I could not have been more wrong. In 25 games this year Halak is 11-11-2, with a .904 SV % and 3.19 GAA. Greiss has been even worse sitting at .884 SV% and 3.82 GAA through 19 games.

You can’t put all blame on the goalies because they have been left out to dry time and time again. The last two games have just been awful losing 6-1 in Colorado and then 5-1 against the Bruins.

The Isles have three games before their bye week and need to make up ground. They start tonight in Philadelphia and then play the Penguins and Devils.

Considering these three are divisional games its imperative for the Isles to win these games in regulation. I’m looking for them to get five points in the three games.

To date, the Isles are 2-0-1 against the Flyers and Penguins. All three games have gone into overtime as they beat the Flyers twice in OT and lost in Pittsburgh. Sunday’s meeting with the Devils will be their first meeting this season.

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The Penguins and Flyers sit directly behind the Islanders in the Standings. The Isles have lost three in a row, but wins against the Flyers and Penguins can go a long way in helping to get them on the right track.