After the New York Islanders allowed four power-play goals to the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 20, head coach Lane Lambert and his players downplayed their concerns and chalked it up to just "one of those nights" where the Devils capitalized on each of their mistakes with precision.
“We made a couple of mistakes, which are going to happen,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said after the 5-4 OT loss to New Jersey. “We made a couple of mistakes, and they ended up scoring on. I don't think it's something we need to make a big change on; it's just something we're going to look at and clean up a little bit.”
They have cleaned it up.
“We made one adjustment,” Lambert said Friday after practice. “But sometimes, and I said that after the game. It’s really unfortunate, that you give up four in one game. It doesn’t happen very often.”
The Islanders have killed 20 of 22 power plays since that game and are now ranked 14th in the league (81.3%) through nine games. Getting defenseman Scott Mayfield back should help too, and did in Washington on Thursday as the Islanders killed all three opportunities for the Capitals in the 3-0 win to extend the team's point streak to four games.
An unexpected positive that came from the Mayfield injury was that it forced Noah Dobson into a role on the penalty kill, something he had done regularly at practice but not much during games. The added time on the PK has led to Dobson playing more than 25 minutes TOI each of the last five games, but to date, it hasn't negatively impacted his production offensively, and if anything, has accelerated his performance overall on the defensive end.
The injury to Adam Pelech, who left Thursday's game in the first period, could extend Dobson's stay on the PK unit, but the team's recent success down a man shows that can likely withstand a loss for short period of time if continue to perform as they have and continue to get their above average goaltending when things break down.