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
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Less than 30 shots on goal in the last 5 games.

When looking at box scores from teams around the NHL, the goaltending statistics are always one to look at. This stat line essentially tells the story of how well a goalie performed in conjunction with how much they were asked to do. In representation, the line reads 'saves, save opportunities, and save percentage'.

As Islanders fans, we have become accustomed to seeing Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov have the number '40' typed in under save opportunities, meaning the opposition had 40 shots on goal. Under Lambert, the defensemen were being asked to focus more on offense and playback in front of the net. This style of defense gives more opportunity for the opposition to set up in the offensive zone and create a great shot attempt. Thus, the Islanders goaltenders were essentially hung out to dry.

Under Roy's '2-on-1' system, the Islanders defensemen have been more proactive as the opposition crosses the blue line. They have begun forechecking in the neutral zone, which slows the opportunity and an odd-man rush. As the puck crosses into the defensive zone, the defensemen are going directly after the puck instead of waiting for a shot to come near the crease. This system prohibits the opposition a chance at setting up a clean scoring opportunity, which has in turn protected Sorokin and Varlamov from having to make 40 saves to win a game.