The New York Islanders are supposed to struggle to score. That's what we have come to know and expect from this group. They're, at best, an average offensive team with a below-average power play that can go stretches of the season without scoring more than two goals most nights, as they did almost all of January last season, which almost sunk their playoff chances.
What we don't expect is for the Islanders' deficiencies to be on defense, but that's where the most troubling trends through the last three games since their stifling 1-0 shutout win over the Arizona Coyotes.
Here are some defensive stats courtesy of statistician Eric Hornick:
- Despite only allowing three goals through their first two wins of the season, the Isles have now allowed 17 goals through five games. That's the they've allowed through five games since 2013, when they gave up 18.
- The Isles have allowed 82 shots in their last two games after allowing only 42 in their first two games; the 82 shots in consecutive games is the most that they have allowed since Calgary and the Rangers combined for 86 last November 7-8th, two games the Isles rallied back to win.
- Ilya Sorokin has allowed five goals in consecutive games for the first time in his NHL career; the ten goals allowed matched the total in his first two NHL games. What is remarkable about that is that he's allowed ten goals in two games where he has made three to four impossible stops, each of which could be their own save of the year candidates across the NHL. You can easily make the case that without Sorokin in the net, the Islanders could have been out of both games well before the third period.
Head coach Lane Lambert didn't want sound like an alarmist after the game, separating the four power-plays allowed versus New Jersey against the mistakes made playing 5-on-5 against a talented Colorado Avalanche team that has won their first six games of the season. Yet, in betweem there was also a bad showing against the Buffalo Sabres, and the loss of Scott Mayfield has forced Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock into playing more minutes and to date, they haven't performed as the defensive stalwarts the Islanders need them to be to be successful.