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New York Islanders Metropolitan Best Goal Differential

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 20: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders celebrates a 3-0 shut-out against the Anaheim Ducks at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 20, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 20: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders celebrates a 3-0 shut-out against the Anaheim Ducks at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 20, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders had a surprisingly successful first half.  They have played a disciplined structure defensively and it has yielded a complete 180 from last season.

The New York Islanders came off a historically bad 2017-2018 season. They gave up 296 goals which come out to 3.61 goals a game. Needless to say, that was a recipe for disaster as they finished second to last in the division.

By the end of the 2017-18 season, they sat with a dismal minus 32 goal differential.

As the Isles get set to begin the second half of 2018-19 they have given up the fewest goals in the NHL. Through 49 games they have given up 122 goals, or down to 2.49 goals against per game.

If they keep up this pace for the final 33 games they would only give up 204 goals. Shaving off an impressing 92 goals against.

Epic Turn Around

The work of Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn has led to this turnaround. Credit also has to go to both goaltenders, as Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss as they have responded well to the coaching change.

Lehner leads the league in save percentage with a .931. Greiss isn’t far behind with a .920 save percentage, good for sixth in the league.

The Isles finished the first half with a +25 goal differential. Not only do the Islanders sit atop the division, but the +25 is also tops in the division. The Penguins are second with +22 and the Capitals round out the top three with +9.

They are third overall in the conference, behind Tampa (+57) and Toronto (+34). This bodes well for the Isles and should mean their first-half success will continue as they return to action on Friday.

The Islanders haven’t had such an impressive turnaround since the 1973-74 season when then-new head coach Al Arbour reduced the Islanders goals against by a cool 100 from the previous year.

Next. 3 Things We Learned in the First Half

Though it feels like forever since the Islanders last played, they are getting set to play the Lightning on Friday. They’ll look to chip away at Tampa’s goal differential and look to send a message to the rest of the league with a win.

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