Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM today and will remain so for most of the New York Islanders season. They'll have "late" games against Dallas and St Louis in April, but start times for both of those games are at 8:30 PM and 8:00 PM respectively.
Tonight, the Isles take on the Canucks in the first leg of a six-game homestand. Looking ahead to tonight's game, what are three keys to a win for the Islanders?
New York Islanders three keys to success against Canucks
The Islanders hold a 15-4-5 record when they score the first goal but a 5-18-3 record when they don't. That a 0.192 win percentage when trailing first, one of the worst in the NHL (25th of 32 teams).
It's wild to think that there's a really good chance the Islanders lose a game if they get scored on first, but that's the reality of the situation. That's why if the Islanders are going to win this game they must score first.
Make Power Play Powerful Again
The Vancouver Canucks have the worst penalty kill in the NHL with a 70.4% efficiency. The Islanders haven't scored a power-play goal since February 20th against the Montreal Canadiens. That's five games without a PP goal. Tonight seems like a good time to change that, no?
As the Islanders look for an advantage to press tonight, the clear special team advantage is one they have to try and exploit. It could very well be a two-birds-one-stone situation. Not only could it help them win tonight, but maybe it sets them up for a better showing on the man-advantage the rest of the way through 2021-22.
Watch the Left
Vancouver gets a lot of its shots on the net from the left side of the offensive zone. Looking at HockeyViz's 5on5 unblocked shot rates chart, you can see that the Canucks use the left flank to generate much of their offense.
So if the Islanders are going to keep the Canucks as quiet as possible today, they should start by making sure they can't create anything from there.