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New York Islanders Three Keys to Win Game Three

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 28: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders leaves the ice following a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 28, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 28: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders leaves the ice following a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 28, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 28: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders skates against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 28, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 28: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders skates against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 28, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Nick Leddy

The New York Islanders have been able to get performances out of Pulock and Pelech as well as the pairing of Mayfield and Toews. But the Leddy-Hickey pair hasn’t done much.

In this series, both Leddy and Hickey’s 5on5 relative expected goals for is -32.49 (Leddy) -30.28 (Hickey). The only other defenseman to sit in the negatives in that department is Adam Pelech with a -0.42. (Stats from NaturalStatTrick)

That’s not good. That pair is a defensive liability on the ice for the Islanders.

Nick Leddy may have lost his defensive partner to injury recently, but that’s no reason for him to go MIA in the playoffs.

With the emergence of Ryan Pulock at the top of the Islanders defensive depth chart, Nick Leddy is no longer that number one guy for the Islanders. For years, he’s been eating up big minutes for the Islanders and was relied upon to turn defense into offense.

That’s no longer the case now. He’s still counted on to move the puck forward, but he isn’t getting the big minutes anymore. And with Johnny Boychuk out, Leddy no longer has his typical safety net. Thomas Hickey is a good defenseman but he isn’t a 1:1 swap with Johnny Boychuk. Maybe that’s the source of Leddy’s issue?

That has to change. When the New York Islanders were winning games in the regular season and sweeping aside the Pittsburgh Penguins, it because they could roll out four lines and three defensive pairs.

They can’t do that at the moment. The paid of Leddy-Hickey hasn’t been good enough at either end of the ice. Nick Leddy, being the veteran with a Stanley Cup ring to his name, has to sort that out if the Islanders are going to win.

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