The New York Islanders struggled mightily with their powerplay, finishing 29th during the regular season with a 14.5% conversion rate. Throw in their middle of their road penalty-kill and it’s safe to say they need to focus on special teams against the Penguins.
The New York Islanders are fresh off their Game One win over the Penguins, a 4-3 thriller in overtime. One key to the win was a successful powerplay early on. The Islanders were able to convert their first powerplay opportunity of the game when Brock Nelson scored 15:46 into the first period.
Nelson’s goal was important, not only because it gave the Isles a 2-1 lead at the time, but also because it gave some confidence to a powerplay unit that at times looked inept during the regular season.
Penguins Powerplay Prowess
The Pittsburgh Penguins sat near the top of powerplay during the Regular Season. The Penguins had the 5th ranked powerplay converting at a 24.6% clip. The Islanders will have their hands full trying to contain the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel.
The Islanders did a good job in Game 1, going 1/2 on their powerplay and only allowing the Penguins to score once in three tries. The only time the Penguins powerplay got on the board was Malkin’s game-tying goal in the second.
The Isles finishing as a top five team during the regular season despite an inept powerplay, and middle of the road PK shows just how well they play 5 on 5.
Naturally, the key to Round One will be staying out of the box. The Islanders should do their best to be agitators and force the Penguins to take bad penalties. When given a Powerplay the Islanders will have to convert.
If the Islanders take care of the Special Team battle, you have to like their chances in the Series against the Penguins. Buckle up Isles fans, we’re in for a fun one!