3 huge X-Factors that will make or break the rest of the Islanders season

The Islanders are still in the playoff hunt, and to maximize their chances, they must improve three major areas of their game.

Feb 18, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30)
Feb 18, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Islanders just can’t seem to get any consistency going during the most crucial part of the season, but as of Tuesday afternoon, they sit just six points out of the wild card. And with just under two months of regular season hockey left, the Isles can still get on a roll and catapult their way into at least a lower seed. 

However, they need to fix a few drawbacks to their game, and such issues have plagued New York all season. They have been inconsistent on both sides of the ice, and while their overall power play has been a strong suit, their penalty kill is another story. 

Fixing these issues would make the Islanders quest for the postseason a lot easier, so let’s take a deep dive into the numbers, see where they are lacking, and what they must do to improve their game. 

The Islanders offense at 5-on-5 needs to convert better

When you look at the Islanders overall 5-on-5 analytics, you will see a discrepancy between what they are expected to be doing at 5-on-5 vs. what they are actually converting. For example, their expected goals for sits at 116.0 this season, which rests roughly 4.5 above the league average. But when you look at their actual goals for, it’s currently a measly 103, seven under the average and 13 under the expected. 

The same goes for overall scoring chances, as on the surface, their 1,268 chances for is better than the average. However, their scoring chances for percentage is just 47.2 percent, meaning they are giving up way more chances than they are giving themselves, but more on that later. 

You can also see this reflected in their 487 high-danger chances for, which sits well above the NHL’s average. But they converted just 41 this season, or 7.8 percent, three goals and 1.4 percent under the rest of the league.