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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
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 27: Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders speaks with a linesman prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum on February 27, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

High Danger Chances

The New York Islanders system is built on creating and converting on as many quality opportunities as possible. It’s not a quantity but a quality approach.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the worst teams when it comes to giving up quality chances and goals from quality chances at 5on5.

Penguins HDCA: 470 (10th)
Penguins HDGA: 63 (11th)

Only the Winnipeg Jets give up more high-danger chances against and are going to the playoffs. That has to give Barry Trotz, the King of high-danger chances-for a smile.

Honestly, you have to think that Barry Trotz and his staff are looking at that as the biggest factor to eke out a win in this series because it plays perfectly into what they do as a system. Just look at how they stack up when you look at the “for” side of the coin:

Islanders HDCF: 516 (4-t)
Islanders HDGF: 72 (2)

(Stats from NaturalStatTrick.)

Ironically, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team that scored more high-danger goals than the Islanders this year with 77. The Pens are 18th in HDCF in case you were wondering.

Next. Isles Top 25 Under 25

So, to sum this all up. You should be optimistic that the Islanders can pull out an opening-round win because (1) the Penguins goalkeeping isn’t very good, (2) they are terrible on the penalty kill, and (3) they play a type of game that suits the Islanders system well.

I know the Islanders hold a 2-4-2 record against the Penguins during this regular season, but that’s all out the window now that the playoffs are here. I hope you’re feeling a bit more optimistic about their chances now.

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