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Islanders: Winning Game 3 boils down to these 3 keys

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 16: The New York Islanders celebrate their 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins during overtime in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 16: The New York Islanders celebrate their 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins during overtime in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Power From the Power Play

It’s kind of insane that the New York Islander power play has been consistently terrible for three years now. Since Barry Trotz arrived the only thing he hasn’t been able to improve is the power play.

To be fair, the Islanders held a 23.2% power play in 2017-18 so when they lost Tavares it seemed that the only place for the PP to go was down. But it shouldn’t have fallen that much, and certainly, it should have been able to bounce back up by now.

Since 2018-19 the Isles hold a 16.5% efficiency on the power play. That ranks them 26th in the NHL.

To have any sort of sustainable success in the postseason they need to improve on that. And that starts today in Game 3.

To start at least one change needs to be made to the configuration of the power-play. Kyle Palmieri has to play in the release position. No more of this bumper/high-slot business. It’s just not his wheelhouse.

Since 2015-16 Palmieri is 15th in the NHL for PPG. And an overwhelming majority of those goals come from the release position, on either wing. It’s like having Alex Ovechkin in the line-up and insisting on using him below the goal line. Why? That’s not where he’s the most effective.

Maybe splitting Wahlstrom and Palmieri might help achieve that. Their unit at the moment (Nelson, Bailey, Leddy, Wahlstrom, Palmieri) isn’t doing enough to warrant having two shooters out there.

It’s true, they haven’t seen much PP time in this series but when they get the opportunity they have to make it count, putting Palmieri in a better position is an easy start.

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