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Islanders: Three Takeaways from Thursday’s 5-3 Win over Devils

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 21: Matt Tennyson #7 and Scott Wedgewood #41 of the New Jersey Devils defend the net from Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders during the second period at Nassau Coliseum on January 21, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 21: Matt Tennyson #7 and Scott Wedgewood #41 of the New Jersey Devils defend the net from Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders during the second period at Nassau Coliseum on January 21, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Casey Cizikas #53 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders played a very solid 40 minutes on Thursday, and in the end came out with a 5-3 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils.

The New York Islanders played a very solid 40 minutes on Thursday, and in the end came out with a 5-3 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils.

It wasn’t the most complete effort we’ve ever seen from the Barry Trotz Islanders, but in the end it was enough to extend their winning streak to seven and their point streak to tengames in front of a crowd of 1,000 Northwell Health front-line workers at Nassau Coliseum (subscription required).

Here are three takeaways from Thursday night’s action.

1. A Dominant Second Period from the Islanders

Some of you didn’t appreciate the way I talked about the Islanders performance in my last three takeaways, the one from Tuesday’s game against Boston. In fairness, I focused on a particularly negative aspect of Tuesday’s game, that of the performance against the Bruins’ top line, which wasn’t good.

So, let’s focus on some positives to start this one off, because I couldn’t say a bad thing about that second period if I wanted to, which I don’t.

The Islanders played the best period they’ve played all season in the second frame of Thursday’s win. Bar none. They absolutely imposed their will on the New Jersey Devils in every measurable way in the middle 20, and if it weren’t for Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood having a solid bounce-back period, the Islanders could’ve easily run away with the game then and there.

Looking exclusively at the team’s 5v5 performance right now, the Islanders drove play masterfully. They controlled nearly 65% of all shot attempts in the period, and over 75% of all unblocked attempts when adjusting for score and venue. Those numbers are impressive, but let’s add some context to them.

In total, the Islanders out-attempted New Jersey 24-16, the raw unblocked attempt differential was an even more lopsided 21-8. I mean, 50% of New Jersey’s total shot attempts were blocked.

That’s Barry Trotz hockey played the right way. Drive play into the O-zone as often as possible, and when the play is in your D-zone, clog up shooting lanes and keep the opposition’s shots to the outside. Mix that in with finding the dangerous areas of the ice in the Devils’ zone, and you get Thursday’s second period.

I mention finding the dangerous areas in the O-zone, because the Islanders carved New Jersey up there too. The unadjusted high-danger chance share was 12-1 Islanders. That number I find to be particularly ridiculous, and by that I mean it’s exceptionally ridiculous among a period filled with already ridiculous numbers.

For reference, the Devils managed five high-danger chances in all situations for the entire game. Just a ludicrous level of dominance from the Islanders in this period.

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