Things aren't going well this season for the New York Islanders. Entering the season with Cup aspirations they now find themselves near the bottom of their own division with half the season (effectively) in the rear-view mirror. Again, the season is not going well.
But there's are still 43 games left to play in the regular season. That's 86 points up for grabs on the year. The playoffs are not a mathematical impossibility. At least not just yet.
I know a large portion of the fan base is now focused on 2022-23, and I get it. If that's how you feel I don't blame you. Getting into a playoff picture is going to be, to put it lightly, tough. But if you're still holding onto that sliver of hope here's something for you.
New York Islanders playing right way if that's any consolation
Recently, NaturalStatTrick released a new feature. They called it Team Reports. And with these new team reports, you can find a few things, including a 10-game xGF rolling average graph. And well, looking at that graph the Isles look really good (on paper) of late.
Now, you might be saying: "the game isn't played on paper". And boy are you right. But what is clear here is that the Islanders are playing well of late (since their 3-1 loss vs Toronto). And playing well is what you want to see from a team that needs to start putting up points. But that doens't free them from criticism.
It's clear that the forwards are generating enough chances but they aren't burying them. Guys like Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Kyle Palmieri all have a combined 0% shooting percentage (0 goals on 24 shots combined) at 5on5 since that xGF uptick.
That's the problem for the Islanders right now. These important players in the squad need to start pulling their weight in order for things to change in the race for a playoff spot.