It's been an up and down start of the New York Islanders and their penalty kill unit.
You can point to the PK being the reason they lost 5-4 in OT to the New Jersey Devils in a game where they allowed four power-play goals for the first time since 2014. Then, a few games later, the penalty kill, aided by Ilya Sorokin, killed seven of eight power play opportunities from the Ottawa Senators in a 3-2 win at UBS Arena. That one goal happened, paying 4-on-3.
Through six games, the Islanders have killed 6 of 24 penalties (75%), but you take out the Devils game, they have only allowed 2 of 18 (89%). Penalties are going to happen, but what's been frustrating is that many of the Isles' penalties are self-inflicted and preventable.
“We had a lot of stick infractions, things like that,” head coach Lane Lambert said in the New York Post. “We gave up situations, put ourselves in bad spots where we had to finish checks. I think they’re more than preventable.
Even if they kill off the opposition's power play, spending time in the box means that certain players need to log more ice time, and others are seeing less because of situational hockey. After the 3-2 win versus Ottawa, the team spoke about the choppy flow of the game and how it was nearly impossible to get a rhythm, especially during the second period, where they took seven penalties, including one at the end of the period.
“You’re not going to prevent all of them, Lambert acknowledged. "I think we’re putting ourselves in bad positions in order to take penalties. I don’t think it’s a discipline thing.”
The Islanders have allowed more shots on goal of the last four games than in any four-game stretch since 2018. Being on the PK as much as they have recently is part of the reason why. They'll need to play a more disciplined brand of hockey to limit the chances their goaltenders are facing and allow their lines to find their rhythm more easily at even strength.