The Islanders Can't Keep the Puck Out of Their Net
By Patrick Hoffman
As I have mentioned time and time again on this blog, I consider myself a follower of the league as well as someone who is an objective hockey fan.
This is exactly why I do not mean any harm in this particular piece. I am simply pointing out the facts and if you are a true fan of this particular team, you are probably more than aware of these things.
The New York Islanders are a bad at keeping the puck out of their net. Sure, their team can score a ton of goals, but when it comes to preventing them, they are absolutely dreadful.
This team simply has no idea how to play two-way hockey while also not knowing how to defend in their own end. You put these two things together and it is certainly not a recipe for a team to have any kind of success because all they do is allo goals to be scored against them.
As of this writing (March 16, 2018), the Islanders are last in the league in goals allowed. They have allowed a staggering 249 goals in 70 games, which means that they are allowing an average of just over three goals per game.
Goaltending is obviously just one of the problems when it comes to those particular stats. In fact, the team's goaltending has hurt them the most this season.
Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss have been terrible this year. Going into the season, many expected Greiss to be the starter.
Last year, Greiss performed admirably in going 26-18-5 with a 2.69 goals against average, a .913 save percentage and three shutouts. This season, his numbers are far away from what they were last season.
While Greiss has only played in 24 games this season due to injuries and inconsistency, he has numbers that are nothing to smile about. His goals against average is 3.84 and he has a save percentage of .891. These numbers certainly do not inspire much confidence.
Halak has been better than Greiss this season. With that said, he has been nowhere good enough to help get this team into the postseason.
As of this writing (March 16, 2018), Halak is 18-22-6 with a 3.22 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and one shutout. These numbers are not exactly awful, but they will not get a team into the playoffs.
Another problem for the Islanders is that they have struggled mightily on the penalty kill. They are currently (March 16, 2018) the third worst team in that category (75 percent) and this aspect of their game has really hurt them this season.
In general, the team's defense is also extremely bad. This is especially the case when it comes to allowing shots on goal.
The Islanders allow an average of 35.7 shots a game, which means that they are asking their netminders to be heroic almost every game. In the NHL, this is simply not possible.
What is also staggering about the shots they've allowed this season is that they have given up at least 50 shots six times. Again, another recipe that will not help a team in any way, shape, or form.
Simply put, this team is going to miss the playoffs this season because they have no concept of playing a full sheet of ice and taking care of things in their own end. Until they figure that out, this team is going nowhere and someone is going to have to take the fall for it.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.