Over the last four seasons, offensive production and speed have been a bugaboo for the NY Islanders. Defensively and in goal, there have been few complaints, but an aging roster has found it difficult at times to find the back of the net and keep up with younger, quicker opponents.
Hosting the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night, the Isles will face their most formidable task of the young season, as Colorado has secured ten out of ten points and has been one of the most offensively potent teams in the league.
Thanks to NHL Edge, a new stats portal available on NHL.com, fans can track metrics never seen before like players skating speed, shot speed, etc. According to this new data, the Avs are considered one of the fastest teams in the league, with the most speed bursts over 22mph (18) and 20 mph (177). Nathan MacKinnon, who's been known as one of the best skaters in the world, topped out at 22.96 mph this season - tenth highest in the league.
Likely coming as a shock to many, the Isles sit seventh on the 22mph+ list, with six - three of which were provided by Mat Barzal.
Another area we can see the Avs' superiority is the amount of time spent in the offensive zone compared to the defensive zone. Through five games, Colorado has spent 42.7% of the game in the opposition's zone while playing just 39.4% in their own.
The Isles, on the other hand, have spent more time in the defensive zone at 40.5%, than they have in their opponents at 40.2%.
Though the Isles have played four games compared to the Avs' five, offensive zone time has been one of the main components of the disparity in shots on goal between the two teams. On 186 shots, the Avs have scored on 20, as opposed to the Isles finding the back of the net just nine times on 120 attempts. The Avs are also finding the dangerous areas more, putting 52 shots on goal from the crease or just in front, compared to 32 by the Isles from the same locations.
When the two teams faced off last year at UBS Arena, it was one of the most memorable games of the season for the Isles, pulling off an incredible comeback after being outplayed the first 40 minutes. The Isles have the great equalizer in Ilya Sorokin, but Alexander Georgiev has been one of the league's best in the early parts of this season.