Editorials

Islanders 3 keys to Game 2: Take advantage of opportunity

Head coach Barry Trotz and assistant coach Lane Lambert of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Head coach Barry Trotz and assistant coach Lane Lambert of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Get at Holtby

I don’t mean physically. I say that so Caps fans don’t think I want the Islanders to place a ‘bounty’ on Holtby.

What I mean by ‘get at’ is get shots at him and get traffic in front of him.

Holtby hasn’t been that same goalie he was under Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn. Over the last two seasons, Holtby has averaged a 2.95GAA and 0.905SV%. I shouldn’t have to tell you how awful those numbers are.

To be totally fair to Holtby, his decline started in 2017-18 where he averaged a 2.99GAA and 0.907SV%. But he bounced back in the playoffs with a 2.16GAA and 0.922SV% on the way to a Stanley Cup win. So 2017-18 wasn’t that bad for Holtby.

Through four postseason games in 19-20, Holtby holds a 2.50GAA and 0.907SV%. His -1.94 goals saved above average is the second-worst for active goalies (who’ve played at least four games) in the postseason. Only Corey Crawford is worse with a -5.52 GSAA.

Holtby is not the rock at the back that he used to be. And it’s not like the Capitals have a better option. Ilya Samsonov didn’t travel with the team to Toronto after picking up an injury prior to the return to play.

The Capitals goalie is a weakness.

There no more evidence to back that up than the Islanders first goal in the series. A goal that just about

any

NHL goalie should be able to get, let alone one who used to be a catcher.

Holtby won’t let those in every night, but that shows a goalie that isn’t confident and isn’t positionally sound. At least at the moment. The Islanders

must

press Holtby and keep him from dialing it in.

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