After all the hype of the trade deadline, New York Islanders fans will have to wait till Thursday before their team hits the ice again. That might not sound long, but it’s the second-longest break this season after the Isles forced COVID break when the Sabres had a bunch of games postponed due to the virus.
With the break, the Islanders will have time to practice a few times before heading to Boston for back-to-back games against the Bruins. And while that practice time will be great for their three new players acquired recently via trade it could help a number of issues the Isles have been having recently.
(Like that horrendous power play.)
New York Islanders: Breaks help
As I said, the Islanders haven’t had this much time to practice recently. They haven’t had more than a two-day break here and there. Which is the same for most NHL teams this year. But the last time the Islanders did get practice time they used it well.
That break took place from Feb 1 to Feb 5. Leading up to that break, the Isles weren’t doing so well. They had a losing record (they were on a five-game winless streak), their power play was terrible, and they couldn’t generate much offense.
But they took that break and worked on their issues. The Islanders top-notch coaching staff recognized where the team needed to regroup and adjusted accordingly.
Here’s how the Isles played prior to the break and after it (in parenthesis is the Isles rank vs. the entire NHL):
*14 games after their return from break
I chose to look at the 14 games following the break for a reason. The Isles only have 14 games left on the season before (likely) heading to the playoffs. That 34.6% efficiency on the power play is what interests me the most (outside of the 1st ranked record).
The Isles power play has been anything but powerful of late. Over their last 10 games, the Islandesr have four power-play goals on 24 opportunities. They have no PPG over their last ten chances, including a full five-minute major against the Flyers.
That power play seems to have wrecked with the Isles psyche a little. They just haven’t been the same team since.
For the Islanders, this break will help them rest, recharge, and refocus as they head down the stretch. And if the last break serves as any clue, the Isles could right the shop in a big way.