Sansided
Editorials

New York Islanders Need Big Game From Captain Anders Lee

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders scores a powerplay goal at 14:34 of the second period against the San Jose Sharks at the Barclays Center on October 08, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders scores a powerplay goal at 14:34 of the second period against the San Jose Sharks at the Barclays Center on October 08, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit

With the season on the line in game four against the Carolina Hurricanes, the New York Islanders need a big game from captain Anders Lee.

Puck drop on game four is at 7:00pm, and if the New York Islanders hope to bring the series back to Brooklyn, they’ll need to get some huge performances from some of their top players. One in particular.

The Islanders have played well in this series so far. At the very least they should have won game two. They were dominant, created a number of goal scoring opportunities, but could only put a Jacob Slavin OG behind Petr Mrazek. Playing well wasn’t enough then, and hasn’t been enough in the two other games in this series.

They’re down 3-0 and face the possibility of elimination with another loss tonight in Raleigh. They need big performances from some of their more important players. Like team captain

Anders Lee

.

The Time Is Now

The Islanders first-year captain has been quiet in this series. Across three games against the Carolina Hurricanes in the postseason, he has an assist on Mathew Barzal’s power-play goal in game two and seven shots on net.

Aside from that point on Barzal’s goal in game two and setting up a good screen for Devon Toews’s goal in game three, Lee hasn’t stood out much on the ice. That has to change in game four.

Lee is one of the best players in league with his back towards the oppositions net. That’s where he has to be when the Islanders are in the offensive zone, specifically on the power play. Too frequently Lee drops into the center-slot looking for a pass (that never comes) rather than trying to disrupt the goalie’s view of the puck. In game three he got in front of Curtis McElhinney and the Islanders converted. That’s no coincidence.

When the Islanders aren’t in control of the puck in the offensive zone, Lee has to dig deep along the boards to get pucks, use his strength to separate defenders from the puck, and then head to the net. The common denominator here is: “head towards the net”. That’s where Lee is his most efficient. And it’s where the Isles can get the most out of him.

To be fair to Lee, his effectiveness around the net relies heavily on his teammates getting shots towards the net. If pucks remain to the outside and not towards the goalie, Lee becomes ineffective. He can’t tip, redirect, or backhand goals in the net if the puck is on the stick of a teammate 20 feet away as they circle around the offensive zone trying to open up the perfect seam.

Players like Barzal, Eberle, and Bailey need to get that puck towards the net when Lee is set. If they can do that, they have the best weapon in the league ready to put that puck in the net. Lee’s net-front presence is an incredibly effective weapon (to the tune of 40 goals in 2017-8) that the Islanders and Lee haven’t used well this series.

When the odds are firmly in the other team’s favor it’s the captain’s job to put the team on his back and guide them to victory. The New York Islanders need that type of performance from Anders Lee tonight.

facebooktwitterreddit