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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Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders skates. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Mathew Barzal Has to Show Up

There is no question that Mathew Barzal is the Islanders best player. All of their offense runs through him. The Isles have enough depth for them to survive when Barzal is taken out of a particular game, but the other night he was virtually invisible.

Here’s his stat line from the night:

  • Points: 0
  • Shots: 1
  • Hits: 0
  • Giveaways: 3
  • Game Score: -0.79

That game score stat takes into account a number of advanced stats, just in case you were wondering. And that -0.79 score had Barzal third from the bottom for Islanders players. Only Semyon Varlamov (-0.88) and Leo Komarov (-0.99).

Going into the final stretch and into the postseason, the Islanders could do well to have Mathew Barzal at his best. That means generating opportunities for himself and for his teammates. Having a 19% xGF on the night is unacceptable, even if the opposition isn’t the Buffalo Sabres. That just cant’ happen.

Back-to-Back Magic

Thankfully, the Islanders typically get it right on the second leg of a back-to-back. Since Barry Trotz has been in charge the Islanders hold an impressive 22-3-4 record in the second leg of back-to-back games.

There’s no doubt that Barry can pull his team into the fight for this one to get a win.

Ideally, the Islanders can sustain that through the remainder of the of the regular season. They still have meaningful games even if they aren’t against meaningful opponents.