The New York Islanders issue in the second round against the Carolina Hurricanes isn’t goaltending, it’s finishing the goal scoring opportunities they create.
Should the New York Islanders switch their goalies for game three? After two quick goals in the third period of game two, do the New York Islanders have to swap out Vezina finalist Robin Lehner for Thomas Greiss?
No. Not at all.
I get it, Thomas Greiss holds a 3-1-0 record against the Hurricanes this season with a 0.949SV% and 1.76GAA. Greiss has been incredible against the Hurricanes through all four meetings in 2018-19 between the two teams.
But Robin Lehner hasn’t been the issue for the New York Islanders. He’s averaging a 0.929SV% and a 1.5GAA in the two games against the Hurricanes in round two. The issue with the Islanders isn’t goaltending.
Lehner has given up three goals in this series. The first was in overtime in game one. Jordan Staal was all alone at the far side of the net. Lehner did well to get a toe on it, but he didn’t get enough to keep it out of the net.
Devon Toews didn’t have his man covered on the play. Maybe Lehner should get over quicker, but you’d hardly blame that goal on him.
In game two there was this shot from Warren Foegele on the rush. Lehner probably could have done better on that goal. The second goal of the game came from a fantastic redirect by Nino Niederreiter, Lehner had no chance to stop it.
So of the three goals scored across two games, you can maybe put Lehner at fault for one? How does that warrant a goalie switch?
The issue for the Islanders right now is goal scoring, specifically burying the chances they do create.
To date in the series, the Islanders have created 21 high-danger chances at 5on5 and scored exactly zero goals from high-danger situations. Across the four games in the Penguins the series the Islanders created 42 high-danger chances at 5on5, converting six of them.
If they kept pace with their form from the Pittsburgh series they should have been able to create three even-strength goals at this point.
The Islanders have to convert on the chances they create for themselves. Not counting posts, there are two clear goal scoring opportunities that the Islanders missed in game two alone.
The first was Scott Mayfield missing the puck entirely with a wide open net. The second is Leo Komarov being unable to corral a cross seam pass. Both were perfect goal scoring opportunities. Opportunities that needed to be scored.
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If they had converted on those opportunities we aren’t talking about Robin Lehner. Again, he’s been just as good as he’s been since day one this season.