It sure hasn’t been an easy November for the NY Islanders. After shutting out the Washington Capitals on Nov. 2 in a game they were severely outplayed, the Isles have dropped nine of the subsequent ten points.
While they weren’t necessarily playing well, the Islanders secured 12 of a possible 18 points in their first nine games. Now, the Isles have been playing better but aren’t getting the results due to some bad puck luck, special teams failures, and untimely penalties.
Special teams have been a concern for the Isles, ranking 25th overall on the man advantage and short-handed. They’ve had the second-fewest time on the power play in the NHL thus far, totaling 59:30, only ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who’ve played a man up for 59:14. Some of the Isles' lack of power play time is to their own demise, as they’ve had the uncanny ability to take a penalty while on the man advantage.
During their current four game losing streak, that trend has continued. As per Natural Stat Trick, the Isles have been short-handed for 13:46, allowing five goals, while playing a man up for 17:04 and scoring just twice.
At five-on-five during these four games, the Isles have been the better team more often than not. Slightly outshooting the opposition 103-98, the Isles have had a significant advantage in shots attempted, bettering their opponents 236-186. As a result, the Isles have had the upper hand in expected goals against the Wild (1.96-1.54), Bruins (1.97-1.34), Capitals (3.02-1.71), and the Oilers (2.17-1.92).
While being expected goals is all fine and dandy, actually scoring is all that matters, and at 5v5 in these four games, the Isles were outscored 9-3.
As it has for years, goal-scoring is killing the Isles. Shots are coming, but they're not finding the back of the net. Shooting 6.3% on the season at even strength, that number has dipped to 2.9% during the losing streak. Some of it has to do with being snake-bitten, but more has to do with poor shooting in high-quality opportunities. Odds say the numbers should be turning in favor of the Isles, but their play at times say otherwise.
With three more games remaining on their current road trip, the Isles need their scoring numbers to be more consistent with their opportunities. Points are slipping away, and even though they’re three points out of playoff position, that number can easily be increased, forcing them to make up points later in the season as they did last year.