Islanders 3 keys against Buffalo Sabres: Cut the crap

Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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new york islanders
Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islander (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Special Teams

The Islanders special teams were anything but last night. The penalty kill was 66% effective going 1/3 while the power play went 0/1 on the night.

The Sabres power play was once their strength, but with Jack Eichel out with an injury, that effective power play has started to drop, perilously. Since March 7th – the last time the Isles saw the Sabres – their power play is 13.3% effective. That’s the 26th ranked PP over the last two-ish months. The Isles PK has been 83.6% effective over that stretch.

There’s no reason for the Sabres to find their way back into the game because of their power play if the Isles play to their strength. But that’s what happens when you let a team register five, yes five, shots on net on a single power play.

The Isles power play is a bit of a different story here. Going 0/1 isn’t something new. The Islanders have been poor on the man-advantage all year long. But they’ve seen some success of late. Over their last eight opportunities going into yesterday’s game they had three goals. That’s a 37.5% efficiency.

With a Sabres PK that has been effective 75% of the time on the year, this was a golden opportunity to continue that form as the team heads to the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Islanders managed to get two shots (both high-danger) but only registered a 0.25 xGF.

Tonight, in the return leg of the back-to-back, the Islanders have to press their special teams advantage. Limit the Sabres’ chances on the PK like they’ve done all year and find their rhythm on the PP when they have them.