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New York Islanders Three Signs They’re Ready for 2019 NHL Playoffs

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 30: Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders handles bench duties against the Buffalo Sabres at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 30, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Sabres 5-1 to qualify for the playoffs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 30: Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders handles bench duties against the Buffalo Sabres at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 30, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Sabres 5-1 to qualify for the playoffs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – MARCH 14: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on March 14, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Canadiens 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Power Play is Looking Better

They score two power-play goals in the last nine tries and the power play is “looking better”? I can hear the derision through my screen: “They might be 2-for-9 recently, but they’re 0-for-37 immediately before that”. I get it. But it truly is getting better.

If there’s one thing that matters to a power play it’s shots on net. And for the longest time, the Islanders just weren’t getting any. They seemed content to just cycle the puck around the perimeter and look for that perfect opening.

Going 0-for-37 can tell you just about everything you need to know about the Islanders success on the power play this season.

But over the last few games, the Islanders have started to get more pucks on net. Over the last three games, they’ve averaged 1.91 shots per opportunity. In the ten games prior to that, the Islanders were averaging 1.41 shots per opportunity.

An extra 0.50 shots per opportunity might not sound like much, but it’s a great improvement on where they were just a short time ago. And more importantly, it’s translating into goals, with two power play goals over the last three games.

With the personnel that Barry Trotz has at his disposal, getting more pucks on the net was the only option he had left. He’s already got most of his top six out there, even Michael Dal Colle is finally getting some reps. It was no longer an issue of deployment but strategy. And it’s working.

It was imperative for the New York Islanders power play to be at least functional going into the playoffs.

In the postseason successful teams take advantage of every marginal advantage at their disposal. The power play is chief among them. Without an average power play, the Islanders were going to find it difficult to push on past round one.

I know that two goals in the last nine opportunities doesn’t mean the power play is fixed. What it means is that the power play is trending in the right direction. And it’s about time.

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