You might not believe it but the New York Islanders power play is one of the best in the NHL of late. Since the turn of the month, the Isles have scored six power-play goals on 19 opportunities. Good for a 31.6% efficiency.
In the two months before that, the Isles hold a 10.2% efficiency. The worst power-play conversion rate in the NHL. Sure, the Isles have only played eight games this month, but that's still a massive turnaround. What's happened?
Did the New York Islanders power play actually change?
With a change that drastic you'd assume there was a massive change in how the Islanders power play is operating. But looking at the number it seems like there is little change. Here's how things have differed from the first two months and December.
49 opportunities (5GF)
0.59 High-Danger Changes-For/Opportunity
1.32 Scoring Changes-For/Opportunity
19 opportunities (6GF)
0.52 High-Danger Changes-For/Opportunity
1.63 Scoring Changes-For/Opportunity
They are generating more scoring chances, but aren't getting more shots off, they aren't getting more shots on net, they aren't getting more high danger chances. There isn't much of a change here. At least nothing that suggests this kind of turnaround.
Based on the numbers, there isn't anything that has changed for the Islanders power play. Except for the obvious change in the conversion rate. So, again, what gives?
Maybe a change in composition? Is anyone getting more time than they used to? There, there's a bit of a change for the Islanders. Here's the time on ice leaders for forwards in October-November compared to this month:
Richard Panik - 3:12
Mathew Barzal - 2:55
Kyle Palmieri - 2.20
Anthony Beauvillier - 2:20
Anders Lee - 2:18
Mathew Barzal - 2:18
Oliver Wahlstrom - 2:18
Anders Lee - 2:15
Kyle Palmieri - 2:09
Brock Nelson - 1:58
Obviously, COVID had an issue on these numbers. But that's a key point here. For much of November, the Islanders were without some key players. That's why Richard Panik is at the top of the list here. In December, you see a more normal and full-strength side with Barzal and Wahlstrom at the top of the list.
So are we seeing what we should expect from the New York Islanders? I'm not entirely sure about that. A 30% power play is one hell of an achievement, but it's hard to expect it to last. The Islanders most effective period on the power play under Barry Trotz was last season when they went 16/73 for a 21.9% efficiency.
That's what I'd expect for the Islanders come the end of the season. With the right players out there and with these underlying numbers holding, the Islanders seem to be able to have a competent power play. Nothing has changed in their strategy it seems. It's just playing to their strengths.