New York Islanders Round Table: Deciding a Crunch Time 6
Barzal – Bailey – Lee – Cizikas – Pulock – Toews
My biggest issue with the Islanders on the man advantage (which this would be) has been their unwillingness to use the center of the ice and, more importantly, the big bodies fighting for position there.
They play on the outside too much and it allows defenders to cheat away from the center to force miscues on the outside. In order to combat that, I’m putting Bailey on the ice as he is the only Isles player that uses Lee as a target of passes, not just a screen/deflector. Lee works too hard and has too much success in front to be left out to dry.
And as much as someone like Brock or Filppula makes sense as the fourth forward, Cizikas will offer more in the way of keeping the play alive, getting in the dirty areas and making decisive passes/shots, even if they’re not the most beautiful. In crunch time you need some guys that’ll do more and think less. It creates an opportunity that they’re not currently creating, and Cizikas has shown lately that he has more skill than we knew.
I’d position it with Toews and Pulock at the right and left points, Bailey on the right dot, Barzal on the left, Lee in front and Cizikas behind the net. Barzal would end up floating a bit so Pulock could cheat down to that position with Toews coming to the center of the blue line when that happens.