2. New York Islanders Didn’t Challenge Tristan Jarry Enough
Making a goalie’s job harder by setting screens and attacking rebounds is part of what makes some of the best NHL teams so hard to play against. Unfortunately, the Islanders just never made Jarry’s job very hard on Thursday night, and it’s a big part of the reason why they only scored one goal.
Pittsburgh’s starter, Tristan Jarry, has been one of the NHL’s worst starting goalies in 2020-21. Jarry had allowed three goals or more in each of his previous five starts entering Thursday night. One of those five games came against the Islanders, who filled the net four times against Jarry on February 6 in a 4-3 Islanders win.
Goals Saved Above Expected, or GSAx, is one of the most-highly valued goaltending stats available today among the analytics community.
According to Patrick Bacon, aka Top Down Hockey, Jarry ranks last in the NHL among qualifying goaltenders with a -8.4 GSAx. Moneypuck has a similar stat, SV% above expected, which Jarry ranks second-worst in among goalies starting nine or more games, with a -2.17%, better than only Ottawa’s Marcus Hogberg.
Pittsburgh’s goaltending has been rated among the worst in the NHL, and Tristan Jarry being their starter is a pretty big reason for that.
What I’m trying to say is, for a goaltender who has such a bad track record in 2020-21, Jarry sure looked steady against the Islanders. Part of that was Pittsburgh playing a good game in their own zone.
The Penguins cleaned up rebounds, forced the Islanders to shoot from the perimeters, and played a very tight-checking game overall. But the Islanders also did very little to push back against the Penguins, who don’t really have the most outstanding defense corps.
The Isles need to challenge a goalie like Jarry more than they did. Most, if not all NHL goalies are going to be able to stop 99% of shots from the perimeters if they can see them coming. There was a notable lack of traffic in front of Jarry’s crease, and no Islanders in the vicinity to put back loose pucks after initial saves.
The Islanders made Jarry’s night too easy, and they scored only once on one of the league’s worst goalies because of it.