After a quick break for the All-Star Game, the New York Islanders will be back in action this week with a road trip out west with stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary before playing Buffalo on the East coast.
Look, things aren't nearly going as well as they should have. The team is sitting with a sub-500 points percentage with a 16-17-6 record through 39 games. Can they make a jump into a playoff position? I don't know, it's mathematically possible though. Which is all we have right now.
If the Islanders are to get into a playoff spot things need to change. So what should change in this second half of the season?
New York Islanders: Things that should change
Palmieri holds a 1.6% shooting percentage this season. I can't stress how that isn't normal for someone like Kyle Palmieri. His average shooting percentage leading up to this season is 12.5%.
If Palmieri shoots at that career average he's got eight goals on the year. His underlying numbers show he isn't far off with a 7.24 ixG rate this year.
Going forward through the next 43 games Kyle Palmieri's conversion rate will change. It might not hit 12.5% on the year, but it will jump higher than the 1.6% we're seeing now.
From the start of the season through December 30th, the Islanders held the seventh-worst shots against per game at 33.0. That is very un-Islanders-esque. The team's typically strong defensive structure was vacant through the first part of the season.
That should change (and is). From December 31 until the All-Star Break, the Islanders hold the second-lowest shots-against per game at 26.2. That type of trend should hold through the rest of the year now that the Isles are healthy once again
Playing low-event Islanders hockey is how this team puts themselves into a winning position.
Through the first half of the season, we've seen a number of soft goals allowed by the Islanders goaltending duo. Soft goals happen, but just not at the rate they've gone in so far. That should change going forward.
Playing low-event hockey will easily help both goalies. Cleaning up these soft goals isn't only on the team but the goalies themselves. Being focused for a full 60 will also .
Of course they won't go away entirely, but to suggest we see a soft goal against nearly per game, is wild. That just won't continue to happen.