The New York Islanders’ five-game losing streak ended with a regulation victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Here are 3 takeaways from the win.
And just like that, the New York Islanders‘ five-game losing streak ends with a regulation victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It wasn’t a perfect performance from the Islanders, but it was good enough to get a 4-3 win.
Here are three takeaways from the Islanders Saturday return to action.
1. The New York Islanders second line
The Islanders second line has consistently underperformed this season, and while they weren’t perfect on Saturday either, there was an easily identifiable positive change in the line’s effectiveness.
That change is that the second line actually scored, not even just once, but twice. Jordan Eberle got the game’s scoring started with a backhand shot that beat Tristan Jarry high on the blocker side, and followed it up with a second marker just under five minutes after.
Eberle, who is off to the hottest start of his Islanders career, deserves a lot of praise for his line’s performance last night. According to Moneypuck, his 0.82 xGF led all Islanders and accounted for 25% of the team’s expected goals.
But his linemates Brock Nelson and Michael Dal Colle deserve credit too. Dal Colle in particular was a pleasant surprise last night. I liked his tenacity on the forecheck, and he was able to disrupt a couple of Penguins zone exits because of that.
Brock Nelson still looked like he was struggling to me. But, he did have an assist and was in the right place to get a loose puck toward the net in order to collect that helper. According to Moneypuck, he ranked fourth on the team for xGF, with a 0.28 mark there, good for about 8.54% of the Islanders’ expected goals Saturday.
With Anthony Beauvillier still reportedly unavailable until after Monday’s Rangers matchup, I like the idea of keeping this line together. It was, in my opinion, the best play-driving line the Islanders had on Saturday, and Barry Trotz rewarded them for it with 11:51 5v5 TOI, a team-high.