Anders Lee scored a power-play goal for the New York Islanders in their 2021 opener, something that rarely happened last year.
In 2019-20, the New York Islanders power play was atrocious. With a 17.3% efficiency, it was one of the worst power plays (24th overall) in the NHL. It was better than it was in 18-19, but with a 14.5% efficiency that year the only direction was up for the Isles.
The big reason for the Islanders failures on the power play was Anders Lee. Lee is supposed to be the Isles top goal scorer, specifically on the man-advantage. But that was far from the case in 19-20. With a terrible 7.14% shooting efficiency on the power play, Lee scored twice last year. Just to put that number in perspective, Lee hasn’t’ scored fewer than eight PPG since 2014-15.
In the first game of the 2021 season, Lee already hit 50% of his power-play goal production for last year.
Keep Feeding the Captain
In the second period of the Islanders opening game of the 2021 season, Jordan Eberle found Lee in the slot who tapped the puck home for the team’s second power-play goal of the night. That was Lee’s first power-play goal of the year, 34:54 into his season.
(Credit for the goal bounced between Lee to Eberle before being rightfully credited to Lee well after the final whistle was blown.)
If the Isles were going to take another step forward in 2021 they needed to fix the power play and specifically Anders Lee.
Last season, Lee just wasn’t effective in his office (around the goal crease) or on the power play in general. And that has a lot to do with how infrequently the puck went from his stick to the net. Lee had 0.42 shots on net per game on the PP in 19-20, he averaged 0.75 in 18-19 with 60 shots in 80 games*. All stats from NaturalStatTrick.
(*Games where the Isles had a power play.)
If Lee and by extension, the Islanders, are going to have success on the power play this season they need to get that puck on Anders Lee’s stick. Later in the game, with the potential for his first career hat-trick, Lee shot the puck just wide of the net and a sprawled out Igor Shesterkin. When Lee has the puck in front of goal, good things tend to happen.
It’s safe to say that Lee will surpass his power-play goal total from last season in 2021. Can he get back to double digits? Absolutely, if the Isles keep on feeding him the puck that is.