Islanders: Mathew Barzal delivers killer blow to take 3-0 series lead
New York Islanders take commanding 3-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals in Game 3.
“Don’t change anything”. That had to be the mindset for the New York Islanders in Game 3. With a 2-0 series lead where the Islanders hold a 9-4 goal advantage and have dominated play at 5on5, Barry Trotz had to tell his troops, just do it again for Game 3.
Even if Barry didn’t say that with his words (I’m 1,000% sure he did) his lineup said it for him. The Islanders have run the same group out since Game 4 against the Florida Panthers during the qualifying round, and have yet to lose.
Andy Greene stayed in for Johnny Boychuk and Leo Komarov is still on the third line left-wing. With the same lineup, the message from the coach is clear. Do it again.
By “again”, that means dominate at 5on5, keep playing physical, and bury your opportunities when you get them. So far that plan has worked flawlessly.
The only issue the Islanders have to sort out in this series is the special teams that have been nothing special at all. The Isles power play has been terrible in this series, going 11.1 percent in the first two games.
It wasn’t any better in Game 3, the Islanders had five opportunities in the game and failed to score on all of them. Clearly, special teams coach Jim Hiller has some work to do.
The Islanders have thankfully been able to get most of their offense in at 5on5. Three-quarters of the way through the first frame, captain Anders Lee called for the pass and got it for this beautiful redirected puck past Holtby.
With a quiet series against the Panthers, Anders Lee had to come to life against the Capitals. With his goal in Game 3, the captain now has a goal in every game this series. That’s the type of play the Islanders have wanted to see from Lee since the puck dropped for the 19-20 season.
Not so Special
The Islanders penalty kill has been atrocious in this series. The Capitals have four goals in the series prior to Game 3, two of them on the power play. The only reason the Capitals have a pulse in this series is thanks to their power play/the Isles terrible penalty kill.
And again in Game 3, the Isles PK allowed the Capitals to find life.
After Jordan Eberle went to the box for slashing T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov sniped the Capitals into the game by going high glove on Varlamov.
With their third power-play goal in the series, the Capitals hold a 27 percent efficiency on the man-advantage in this series. The Islanders have to figure out their PK not only for this series but for any potential later series.
The Islanders power play was 0-for-5 in this game and is now 1/14 on the power play for a seven percent efficiency. Horrendous.
It was a tight game and the Isles had a hard time converting their chances as they did in Games 1 and 2. The Islanders had ten high-danger chances at 5on5 throughout the game before overtime and only converting on only one of them (Lee’s goal).
Thankfully, it only took one high-danger chance from
in OT for the Islanders to ice the game at 2-1.
At 5on5, the Islanders held a 57.43 percent Corsi-for, 28-18 shots-for, 26-18 scoring chances-for, and 11-5 high-danger chances for. Game 3 was yet another dominant display by the Islanders at 5on5.
Game 4 will be difficult for the Islanders to win with the Capitals pushing for their playoffs lives. But if they can do it again.
Mathew Barzal: 1G, 2SOG
Semyon Varlamov: 22SVS, 0.957SV%
Anders Lee: 1G, 7SOG
Jakub Vrana: 4SOG
John Carlson: -2 +/-
Jordan Eberle: Bad slashing penalty that lead to Caps goal