NY Islanders at 20gms are on a playoff path
At the 20 game mark, the NY Islanders are at a 98-99 point pace, creating two 12 point segments in their 10 game schisms. So far this is shown as very consistent.
IF the Isles stay the course and have a segment or two with a hot streak, they will be well over 100 points, as I cited at the start of the season.
HOWEVER…. THEY MUST avoid the long losing streak – which is the only thing that can threaten playoffs.
These 20 games and pace has occurred with average (at best) goalie play. That’s right, fanboys. Both goalies have been average. Not just one.
I wouldn’t expect this to get any worse.
IN FACT, history tells us ONE or BOTH goalies will have a hot streak – either of which would be the driver of a 100+ point season.
The Isles have a #1 and a #1A line. What is important from this is that John Tavares, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle are doing as-expected historically. Josh Bailey is continuing his play from last year (Must be a lot of eaten crow from a lot of loud Isles twitter haters).
And Matthew Barzal is playing EXACTLY as advertised. Nobody is playing out of their minds or so far above their average that we should expect a drop. That bodes very well going forward.
ISSUES at forward:
The Bottom 6 have to solidify. There needs to be better and more consistent play from the 3rd line. Meanwhile, the 4th line IS beginning to come around to be what they are. But there is room for improvement.
No, Nick Leddy isn’t a #1 man in the “classic sense”, but he IS pretty darn close.
There have been three very even pairs. Good at times. Even sometimes very good. The problem is from a fan perspective, they haven’t looked as good as they should due to average to below-average goaltending.
Isles also have a very strong 7dmen with Seidenberg as a decent 8th D. Meanwhile… for future indicators… prospects Toews and Aho are burning up the AHL.
Special teams must improve. The POWERPLAY has been very streaky, which is not atypical. They have been good of late, must continue.
The PENALTY KILL has been poor, especially with goaltending.
If the Isles were to get some ABOVE AVERAGE goaltending, it would make a lot of things look better.
On an individual level, Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Ho-Sang need to establish what they are and what they bring to stay in lineup as season wears on. Mark my words. If they don’t, we will see them sent back down.
Additionally, Brock Nelson needs to show up every night. Not sure what is going on there, but he must find consistency.
WHY ARE THE NY ISLANDERS BETTER THAN LAST YEAR and on a playoff pace??
- The additional of BARZAL and EBERLE.
- PLUS: Anders Lee, John Tavares, and Josh Bailey showing that last year was no fluke and are producing together.
- Moving Travis Hamonic (like it or not), and the emergence of Scott Mayfield and the easing in Ryan Pulock.
Now, we know what we have. Let’s see how this persists or if we can see those items improve. Especially goaltending.