3 reasons the NY Islanders defense deserves more credit for recent resurgence

The Isles' defensemen have been playing all-star caliber hockey during their 6-game winning streak.

New York Islanders v Dallas Stars
New York Islanders v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
1 of 3

The NY Islanders are the hottest team in the National Hockey League. They have now won six games in a row which is their longest winning streak since the team won nine straight in March of 2022. This latest resurgence has propelled the Islanders from a team with no clear direction to a playoff contender. Last night's victory against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center meant more to the team than just a regular win in California. This victory ensured the Islanders a tie for the second wild-card spot with the Detroit Red Wings. The Isles are also just 2 points behind the top wild-card Tampa Bay Lightning and third-place Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division.

To say the Islanders have completely turned their season around is an understatement. The offense has had its most dominant stretch in years, scoring 30 goals in the last 6 games. The first line is finally a goal-scoring unit across all three positions while the third line has found some production. Even though all of the attention has been placed on the forwards, the Isles' most impressive turnaround is its performance from the defensemen. The following statistics under head coach Patrick Roy's '2-on-1' system are starch in comparison to the days of Lane Lambert standing behind the bench.

4 goals and 16 assists (20 points) in the last 6 games.

Aside from just one defenseman, every player has improved some aspect of their game since Roy has taken over. The one exception of course is Noah Dobson, who was already in the midst of a breakout season. To summarize his performance, Dobson has been a consistent point machine having 56 through 63 games. Regardless of an increase in time on ice due to injuries, a new defensive partner, or a different coaching staff, Dobson has been the most valuable Islander in 2023-24.

However, Dobson is not the only defenseman who has contributed on offense in recent games. Sebastian Aho, Ryan Pulock, and Alexander Romanov have all scored goals across this winning streak. The combination of Aho and Mike Reilly have combined for 13 shots on goal, more chances than we could have expected from a bottom pairing. Adam Pelech has also returned to his all-star form, recording 4 assists in the last 5 games.