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Islanders: Three reasons to be optimistic for Penguins series

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 06: The New York Islanders celebrate a goal by Cal Clutterbuck #15 against Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:23 of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on February 06, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 4-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 06: The New York Islanders celebrate a goal by Cal Clutterbuck #15 against Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:23 of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on February 06, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 4-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Penalty Kill

The Islanders power play might not be very good going into the series but thankfully, the Penguins penalty kill is absolutely horrendous. With a 77.4% efficiency, the Penguins rank 26th in the NHL.

I know what you’re probably saying: “yeah, but that’s against the rest of the division. They surely don’t have such poor numbers against the Islanders.”

Yeah, they do. In fact, it worse.

This season, the Isles power play is effective 35% of the time against the Pens with seven power-play goals on 20 opportunities. Meaning the Penguins PK is effective 65% of the time. That’s great news for the New York Islanders and some of their players.

Guys like Nick Leddy, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Brock Nelson have been excellent on the man-advantage against the Penguins this season.

  • Leddy has five PP points against the Penguins this year (all helpers of course)
  • Wahlstrom has a goal and two helpers on the PP
  • Nelson has two goals against the Penguins

For the latter two, this series comes at the right time. Both Nelson and Wahlstrom have finally hit the right form after being cold for so long. Wahlstrom ended the season with three points in his final two games while Nelson he’d seven points in his final seven games.

Being in top shape as they head to the playoffs is perfect timing. Assuming the Islanders can get a few calls against the Penguins, Nelson and Wahlstrom could very well be key factors on the man advantage.

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