2. Lineup transitions following the penalty kill.
The Islanders’ regular penalty killers without Casey Cizikas in the lineup are Horvat-Clutterbuck, Pageau-Holmstrom, and at times Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri. Of that group in the top-2 penalty units, only Horvat is a top-6 forward. Under Lambert, he would wait for the Islanders' penalized player to exit the box before changing lines back to 5-on-5 matchups. This wholesale change at the end of a PK would give the opponent a greater chance of an odd-man rush as the Islanders are in transition. In reviewing box scores from previous games, there are multiple instances of a penalty expiring and within a minute later, the opponent scores a goal.
During Sunday night's matchup at UBS Arena, Anders Lee took a tripping penalty behind the Stars' net 14:05 into the first period. In the final seconds before Lee exited the box, Roy had Mathew Barzal, Horvat, Noah Dobson, and Alexander Romanov ready on the ice so their regular pairings with Lee were ready for an offensive push. Roy did this again in the third period following Nelson's penalty, he had Hudson Fasching and Palmieri waiting on the ice. This in-game management erases the need for a transition from PK to 5-on-5 hockey, which put the Stars in a difficult situation to change from their powerplay unit.
3. Playing skill players in the final moments of regulation.
None of us want to remember the Alexandre Carrier goal with 7 seconds left against the Nashville Predators to lose 3-1. We try and forget about the Curtis Lazar goal with 23 seconds left in losing 5-4 against the New Jersey Devils. We've brushed aside the Tomas Hertl game-winning goal with 1:30 left at UBS Arena in losing 5-4 to the San Jose Sharks. Fans even try to forget the third period meltdowns against the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. As fans, we have relived these nightmares far too often for one season.
In none of those circumstances did Lambert have top-six forwards on the ice when these game-winning goals were scored. The Islanders have played third period's 'not to lose', meaning they are only playing defense with bottom-six forwards, which results in being outshot 2-to-1 at the end of games. Roy did not take this approach as he played the first and second lines for the final 5 minutes of regulation, with Pageau being an exception for face-off decisions. The Islanders were playing to 'win the game', which means being more aggressive on offense rather than skating in front of Sorokin for the final minutes.