New York Islanders Mathew Barzal Needs to Play on 5on3

Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

During a two-man advantage, the New York Islanders didn’t use Mathew Barzal. Their best player should be out there when the ice is tilted in the Isles favor.

Mathew Barzal is the New York Islanders best player. There’s no question about it. He’s the team’s primary playmaker and primary offensive threat. But for some reason, he doesn’t pay during a 5on3 power play.

That was made obvious against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. With a full 1:34 of 5on3 power play time Mathew Barzal didn’t jump over the boards once.

When the ice is tilted in the New York Islanders favor and two opponents are in the penalty box, Mathew Barzal isn’t playing. On purpose. That’s wild. He needs to be out there.

Why Not?

In his post-game conference, Barry Trotz was asked why Barzal hadn’t jumped on the ice during the 5on3. Trotz answered that the Isles had had success recently without Barzal (skip to the 2:30 mark of the video).

The Islanders didn’t look good during that 5on3 against the Flyers. They moved the puck around without any sort of purpose or speed. The Isles were absolutely pedestrian and even statuesque at times.

They could have used a player like Mathe Barzal to pull defenders away from passing or shooting lanes. But of course, they didn’t. Because they’ve been good without him. Apparently.

Over the course of the season, the New York Islanders have two 5on3 power play goals on six opportunities. Good for a 33 percent efficiency.

Of the two Islanders 5on3 goals this season, Mathew Barzal has a secondary assist on one. It came against the Detroit Red Wings on December 8th. We know that Barzal can be productive on the man advantage. Again, he is the Islanders best player. It’s why he’s the team’s focal point during a 5on4 power play.

The more ice available the more space Mathew Barzal gets to create with. But Barry Trotz doesn’t seem to think so.

In a game that was getting away from the Islanders, converting on the two-man advantage was the Islanders best chance to get back into it. And Mathew Barzal sat on the bench watching.

The New York Islanders failed to produce and failed to get anything out of the game. That 5on3 power play could have been a turning point in the game.

It’s not like the New York Islanders get a slew of opportunities at 5on3, but they should be putting their best foot forward. That means their best offensive player should be on the ice for as long as possible. Hopefully, Barry Trotz corrects that going forward.