New York Islanders: 3 Keys to Win Game 5

Alex Ovechkin

The New York Islanders will play the Washington Capitals on Thursday in game 5 of the series. The Islanders are just coming off of a game 4 to forget. Other than the first 10 minutes of the first period, the Capitals dominated the Islanders. The Islanders weren’t getting shots on net; they were taking bad penalties, and not converting on the power play as per usual. If the Isles want to put the series to bed now, rather than give the Capitals hope, they need to accomplish three important tasks.

Covering Ovechkin

If you take away Ovechkin from this series, the Capitals would only have four goals and would’ve been swept already. There’s something so simple, yet difficult in covering one guy. Especially on the power play, the Isles cannot leave Ovechkin open. All Ovechkin ever does is go to the left faceoff circle and take a one-timer. I don’t care if your name is Carey Price, or Darcy Kuemper, or in this case, Semyon Varlamov, you cannot stop every shot from Ovechkin. Also, if there’s a 2v1 opportunity for the Capitals with Ovechkin, the defensemen must cover Ovie. Everyone would rather see Ovie pass to Tom Wilson and Varlamov make a stop, then Ovie ripping a wrister from 15 feet out.

Converting on the Power Play

The New York Islanders power play is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. How can you possibly go 1/19 on the power play in this series alone?  The Islanders are averaging around five power plays per game, and only converting on .052% of them.

Something must change in either the personnel or just the system of the power play. If Tom Wilson is going to board Scott Mayfield and almost destroy his collarbone, the Isles have to make the Caps pay for it. There’s no reason why this power play shouldn’t work either. There’s talent everywhere, Ryan Pulock can take a booming slapshot from the point. Jordan Eberle can walk in on any defender and go backhand to the toy department. Anders Lee can tap in basically anything, as long as he doesn’t fall. Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier can split the defenders on entries, Pageau and Nelson can win any faceoff. The list goes on and on. There is no excuse for the power play not to score.

Staying Disciplined

The Islanders cannot allow the Capitals to get power-play chances.

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