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Islanders: Yeah Barry, the power play is “murder for us”

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 11: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders and the rest of his teammates react to the loss on the bench late in the third period against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on November 11, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders 4-0. Tonight was Barzal's 300 career NHL game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 11: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders and the rest of his teammates react to the loss on the bench late in the third period against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on November 11, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders 4-0. Tonight was Barzal's 300 career NHL game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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After the New York Islanders 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Barry Trotz had some choice words for the team’s power play. The Isles head coach was essentially mimicking what fans had been saying for some time about the man advantage:

“That [the power play] is murder for us.”

Yeah, it really is murder to the Islanders. And frankly, outside of a small window in 2020-21 before Anders Lee was injured, the power play has been “murder” for years now.

New York Islanders power play is “murder for us”

Since 2018-19, the New York Islanders power play is ranked 26th in the NHL with a 16.4% efficiency. Their power-play goals-for ranks 29th of 31* teams in the NHL since 18-19 with 93 goals-for.

(*I took out Seattle because they’ve only existed for about 10 minutes so it’s not fair to include them.)

That’s really bad. This poor power play is absolutely killing the Isles, just like it did on Thursday against the Devils. The Islanders are already a top-end team in the NHL without an effective power play. Imagine what they could be with an effective one.

And by effective I don’t mean top ten in the league, I mean top half. Which is ~20% efficiency. So we’re talking about a 3.6% increase or another 20 power-play goals since 2018-19. That’s not a lot to ask for.

How do they fix it? It’s a combination of coaching and playing personnel.

For coaching, they have to communicate to the player to shoot more. The Isles are 15th in shots-for, 16th for high-danger chances-for, and 27th for xGF. All stats are on the power play and on a per-60 basis.

(Thanks NaturalStatTrick.)

That’s something coaching can have at least a minor impact on. They can also start coming up with better zone-entry schemes. For a team that does a lot of dump-and-retrieve, they don’t seem to do that enough on the power play.

Of course, it’s not all on the coaching staff. The players share just as much of the blame here. These players have been around since 18-19 (for the most part), they clearly need some help.

With the cap space that the Islanders have made and will seemingly make once Leo Komarov‘s contract is terminated, they’ll have the space to acquire someone who can help the power play. Who that player might be is anyone’s guess. But I think we can all agree that it should probably be a defenseman.

Both Noah Dobson and Ryan Pulock have had their issues running the power play. A third option should be brought in to run it. Ideally, that third option should be able to play ~20 minutes of solid 5on5 defense as well.

We’ll see how the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello try to fix this issue going forward. But it clearly needs to be fixed ASAP.

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