Four games into the season and the New York Islanders are proving to be the same inconsistent team from last year. They are a team with misfiring talent. It looks like the season will be another roller-coaster ride.
Mixed Results in New York Islanders First Four Games
The Islanders opened with a 5-0 loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The next night they blasted the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. With John Tavares and Casey Cizikas bagging two goals each, the Islanders have shown that they can create space and scoring chances. The following game against the St. Louis Blues looked to be another shutout when the Islanders turned the game round in the third period to force an overtime. During the extra period they lost Joshua Ho-Sang for two minutes to a slashing penalty. In that time the Islanders shut down the Blues. The penalty kill was strong, forcing a shootout. Ultimately the Islanders lost the shootout. Moving to west coast, they lost a close game to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.
Despite showing grit, the Islanders show the same cracks as last season. They have problems on the power play, let in soft goals and the defencemen are caught out of position, often turning over the puck in a dangerous spot.
We could watch these all day pic.twitter.com/IfKTXIFIfn
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) October 9, 2017
Weak Power Play Unit and Offensive Turnovers
The Islanders power play is summed up in a single shift. A shift against the Blues. They worked a 5 on 3 power play for 80 seconds and failed to score a goal. In fact the power play unit has yet to light the lamp this season. They are 0 for 15 on the power play thus far.
Coach Doug Weight and the Islanders fans have been excited about Ho-Sang. With good reason. He is electric with the puck, skating through defencemen like pylons. He creates scoring chances and draws people to him to prevent him from scoring. He also turns the puck over far too often. With a paltry power play unit and a player heralded for his goal scoring ability turning the puck over, the defence is the on the hook too often.
Calvin de Haan and the $5 million question
De Haan signed a $3.3 million-dollar, one-year deal after asking for arbitration when his agent and the Islanders were unable to agree to the $5 million that he was asking. This was a deal similar to the one that Ryan Strome signed the year before. These deals leave the team with the upper hand. In effect asking the player to prove their worth. Currently de Haan’s performance is amongst the worst in the league in CF% and he is turning over the puck too often in the corners, often resulting in scoring chances for opposing teams. Before the Islanders can challenge in the tough Metropolitan division de Haan’s performance needs to change.
The Goalie Situation
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 12, 2017
Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak continue to share net minding duties for the Islanders. Halak’s save percentage rests at .914, above that of Greiss, who is at .886. Halak played one more game than Griess. Greiss began the season by getting lit up by Columbus before being pulled and replaced by Halak in the opener. Weight seems to place his early confidence in Halak. Time will tell as the season progresses. Although Halak has done well in goal he still has a tendency to let in soft goals, like the Patrick Eaves goal in the loss to the Ducks. The 32 year-old duo will be tested throughout the season, especially if the Islanders defense cannot stop shots before they happen. For the goalies and the fans this could be a long season.