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New York Islanders: A Smarter Level of Play

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders skates against the Florida Panthers at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on October 12, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders skates against the Florida Panthers at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on October 12, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New York Islanders recent western road trip put some serious doubts in the minds of both the players and the fanbase, but the trip to Florida seems to have righted some of their sloppy play.

The Islanders are playing with grit and spunk again, and most importantly their passing has gotten a little crisper over the past two games. This has materialized in more short-handed and breakaway opportunities, but also two power play goals.

During the road stretch, the Isles couldn’t make a pass to exit their own defensive zone to save their lives. However, the Islanders defenseman have done a much better job in these past two games of setting up their forwards.

That is, of course, if we exclude the first 5 to 7 minutes of the third period in Tampa on Monday. Dal Colle appeared to open a wormhole into the garbage pass dimension. Only a series of gritty Mayfield and Pelech blocks and Varlomov standing on his head saved them there.

The Chip and Chase Formula.

Casey Cizikas is the certified king of chip and chase. When the Islanders are performing their chip and chase game effectively in the third period with a lead they do not lose. Sadly, toward the end of their points streak they steered away from the chip and chase and were looking to score late.

Against the high powered Florida offense the Isles played the chip and chase, and but for a two minute stretch in the third around the 16 minute mark, seemed much more controlled in their play as well.

Wins and losses columns aside, playing the game the right way takes precedence. Teams are going to go through hot and cold stretches, but as Trotz maintains, playing the game the right way will allow opportunities.

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It is good to see the Islanders circling back to a smarter level of play. They certainly look at lot crisper on this recent stretch. Let’s see how they look against Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.

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