I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that the Islanders have been garbage away from home. When not on home ice the Islanders are one of the worst teams in the NHL. And look, that’s not just an emotional statement, it’s a factual one.
With an 11-13-4 record, the Islanders rank 22nd in the NHL. In terms of playoff teams, the Islanders are the worst away team in the tournament.
When not at the Nassau Coliseum, the Isles have struggled all year long. They are lethargic, leggy, and just seemingly disinterested. I know that’s not actually the case. I know they’re interested, but their efforts on the ice when away from home leave me with that impression.
But yesterday, the Islanders had legs, they dug deep, they fought hard, and they scored goals. More than two! Which is something they just don’t do away from home. On the year, the Islanders have scored an average of 2.00 goals per game. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets have scored fewer goals on the road.
Yesterday they scored four. That’s just not something Islanders fans haven’t grown accustomed to from the regular season.
Now the Isles will leave Pittsburgh with – at worst – a split. And look, earlier I stated that teams who win Game 1 go on to win the series 68.8% of the time. And that’s true, but when the road team wins Game 1 they only have a 57.1% of taking the series. But when the home team wins Game 1 they have a 75.6% chance to take the series.
By taking the first game the Isles help themselves on a number of fronts. Not only do they prove they aren’t a bad road team but they also take away what would have been a huge advantage for the Penguins.