The New York Islanders had many things go wrong last season that led to their disappointing season. Two of those factors were the opening 13 games on the road (October 14th - November 16th), and the span where they were decimated by Covid which helped lead to an 11-game winless streak (November 7th - December 5th). But one factor that has not been talked about enough was the Isles' record when the games required more than 60 minutes.
The Islanders' record once overtime hit was dreadful. The Isles were 1-4 in the five-minute overtime session and 2-6 in the Shootout. In the deep Eastern Conference that has mostly improved this summer, that is not going to cut it if the Isles want to be printing playoff tickets next season those records have to change dramatically.
Improved Results are Required
In the two previous seasons where the Islanders made the playoffs and then headed on their run, the blue and orange held their own in extra time. In 2020-21, the Isles went 4-4 in overtime and 4-3 in the shootout. In 2019-20, the Islanders went 8-7 in overtime and 3-3 in the shootout.
Truth be told, the Islanders haven't been very good since the subtractions of blue liners, Devon Toews and Nick Leddy:
"You look at our three-on-three the last couple of years, there is a Leddy and a Toews. Just because they have the ability to get separation on those odd-man situations or those quick breaks or change of possessions. They can make a difference. We don’t really have lots of that."- Barry Trotz
Noah Dobson's breakout season is a reason to be optimistic things could change, but the 2021-22 Islanders missed Toews and Leddy in overtime.
Last season the Islanders played past regulation 13 times and they only garnered 15 points in those contests. Eight of 13 overtime contests went to the shootout where the Islanders came away with two shootout wins. Mathew Barzal was 0-6 in the shootout attempts and Anthony Beauvillier received the most attempts last season (eight) but only converted once last season. Nowhere near good enough if a team expects to make the playoffs.
Last season the Washington Capitals landed the last playoff spot in the East with 100 Points. That's likely the benchmark for next season as it's likely going to take a 100-point effort or very close to that mark once again in a very deep Eastern Conference to claim playoff position.
There is no reason to believe that any of the eight teams in the East who made the playoffs last year can find themselves on the outside looking in this upcoming season. The Islanders will have to keep improved teams such as the Columbus Blue Jackets (Johnny Gaudreau) and the Ottawa Senators (Alex DeBrincat, Cam Talbot, Claude Giroux) who missed the playoffs last year at bay, while also looking to eclipse one of the bottom feeders who made the postseason in May. The Eastern Conference is going to be a bear and a tough hill to climb.
Considering the Islanders look similar to how they did in their back-to-back Eastern Conference runs, it's fair to believe last season's outcome was an anomaly. However, the Isles have to learn from it, make the necessary adjustments, and turn a number of those L's into W's, especially the ones in overtime. Points are precious in the Metropolitan Division, and the Isles don't want to find themselves falling far behind.
The bottom line is the feeble record the Isles had after regulation last year has to drastically improve or they will not make the post-season this upcoming season.