3 Players the Islanders Miss Most During Losing Streak
By Matt O'Leary
The New York Islanders finally had games canceled after losing another play to COVID protocol yesterday. They're in the midst of an eight-game losing streak as the roster is decimated by both COVID and injuries to Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson.
The moral of the story, the lineup the Isles have been running out for a majority of this losing streak is a shell of the lineup we saw on opening night. Today, we'll take a look at the three players the Islanders are missing the most right now.
The Islanders just locked up Adam Pelech to an eight-year extension and for good reason he is necessary for this team to do what they want to do. He's missed four games now, and over that span the Islanders have been outscored 13-3 over those games.
In terms of xGF%, Adam Pelech is at the top for Islanders defensemen at 54.26%. In fact, his GF% is an impressive 62.5% as he's been on the ice for 10 goals and just six goals against in the 13 games that he's played so far.
Sure, the Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech pairing has split up but it's obvious that Pelech's impact is sorely missed in this lineup. Hopefully the days of Paul LaDue, Thomas Hickey, and Grant Hutton are over soon.
Clearly, the Islanders have had issues getting the puck in the net. One of their best goal scorers, Anders Lee has now missed five games in a row. As a result, the top line has been in absolute shambles as Mat Barzal is working with Richard Panik and Zach Parise.
What stinks is right before the COVID case for Anders Lee, he was starting to heat up. He had three goals in the last five games that he's played and certainly it couldn't hurt to see him out there on the power play that's one for their last 29.
The advanced numbers were pretty good for Lee as well as he was sporting a 50.0 GF% and a 53.85 HDGF%. Both the Islanders and Mat Barzal could benefit from the return of their captain sooner rather than later.
Brock Nelson has been excellent for the Islanders. He leads the team in goals with nine and had 11 points in 15 games before suffering a lower body injury. His timetable is 2-4 weeks so perhaps this time off helps the Islanders as they don't miss their current best forward for anymore games than they have to.
Nelson is utilized on the power play, penalty kill, is good offensively, good in his own end, and solid on faceoffs as well. Brock was working with a 55.37 xGF% and a 56.10 HDCF%. He was generating a ton of quality scoring chances which is exactly what this team could use right now.