The New York Islanders have been woeful in third periods this season. How bad has it been? They've been outscored 18-5 in the third period over the last ten games, and have the third-worst third-period goal-differential in the league, behind only the Seattle Kraken and San Jose Sharks.
There's nothing about that stat that brings optimism, other than perhaps the assumption that the law of averages will take over and that this trend which has upended the season will at some point stop being a trend and be looked at as an aberration by the end of the season.
But that's not the stat I wanted to tell you about. It's this one, courtesy of Shayna Goldman in The Athletic. In an article breaking down "troubling trends and performances so far in 2023-24," Goldman does a deep dive into the Islanders, a team she gives an 8/10 score on her "concern-o-meter."
According to Goldman, heading into last night's action, "In all situations, the Islanders lead about 37.7 percent of the time, which ranks ninth in the league. And the team only trails 20 percent of the time - only the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins spend less of their time facing a deficit."
The Rangers and Bruins have the top two winning percentages in the Eastern Conference. We've understandably focused on how many leads the Islanders have blown, but it's either a silver lining or disheartening to see how little time they've trailed during games this season. They're putting themselves in a position to win games at a clip amongst the best teams in the league.
If you're looking at this 6-6-5 team through 17 games and searching for a reason why they can turn things around, it's this stat. And if you're already resigned to the fact that this is what mediocre at best teams do, this stat isn't going to change your mind.
Lane Lambert has been saying how the team needs to keep grinding until things change, but when they do, they can change quickly. It's stats like these that make you understand why he thinks such a turnaround is possible.