New York Islanders: Analyzing the win against the Boston Bruins

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have put themselves back in the win column after squeezing past the Boston Bruins. This is the Islanders’ first home win against the Bruins in 8 years. The Islanders only managed to put the puck behind Tukka Rask once. But, they only needed one goal to win, as Semyon Varlamov played another excellent game. Varlamov has played so well this season that he now holds the Islanders franchise record for most minutes played without a goal allowed.

Statistically, Varlamov is the best goalie in the NHL right now, holding a 1.000 save percentage and a 0.00 GAA. There was some great play from a few players, and also some bad play from a few players. The Islanders will be analyzed as a team through each period, not by individual performances.

First Period

The Islanders just looked absolutely rusty in the first period. Only 2 shots on net all period, and not much offensive zone time at all. There were a bunch of turnovers committed, and the defensemen couldn’t hold the blue line to save their lives. The only player who shined in this first period was, of course, Semyon Varlamov. He stopped all 10 shots that came his way and just overall looked very calm in between the pipes. Also, the penalty kill looked very good again.

Second Period

This felt like the fastest period I’ve ever seen in Hockey. I’m not saying that the time went off the clock very quickly. But, the tempo was increased dramatically. There was no whistle for over 3 minutes at one point. Chances back n’ forth for each team, none of them converting, and the Islanders missed the net on almost all their chances. It was a setup period for what happened in the third.

Third Period

The Islanders finally pieced it all together in this period. It’s hard to beat a team where everyone is giving 100% on every single shift. Players like Anders Lee, Adam Pelech, and even Jordan Eberle gave it everything they had. Cal Clutterbuck hit everything in his vision. Matt Martin surpassed 3,000 career hits, putting him in the top 5 of hits among active players. Varlamov continued to be solid in between the pipes. The forwards jumped up in the neutral zone to force turnovers, and the defensemen pinched up behind them. This all led to the lone goal of the night, a J.G. Pageau tip-in. Sometimes all you need is a lucky bounce to win, I’m sure the Islanders are glad that it went their way.

New York Islanders: Breaking down the possible division realignment

New York Islanders

The National Hockey League has taken giant steps to get a 2020-2021 season on the way. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that the season will start on January 13th. Only a couple of hours later, the NHL announces there will be a division realignment due to COVID-19.

The New York Islanders are in the “USA 1” division. This is just my name holder for the division, so don’t look so far into this. This division has a bunch of good teams and a few terrible teams. I think it’s the most well-rounded division out of the four. Let’s see who will be the Islanders’ toughest task in this new 56 game season.

Boston Bruins

There’s something about Boston. I don’t know if it’s in the drinking water or the clam chowder, but every year one Boston team is great. The Bruins have been great for so unbelievably long, and they show no signs of slowing down. Their true top line is the scariest line in the league. Along with forwards like Jake Debrusk, Craig Smith, and Charlie Coyle, their forward core is deep.

On the other hand, their defense got much worse during the offseason. They lost two key defenders in Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. The speedy Islander forwards shouldn’t have much trouble navigating through the new defense.

Washington Capitals

I love and hate the Washington Capitals. They’re such a good team, and I love their top line, but man, they need to go away. People call the Islanders pesky, but what about the Washington Capitals? They keep getting more and more talented as the years go on. Yes, they lost Braden Holtby. But, they gained Daniel Sprong, Justin Schultz, and Henrik Lundqvist. I fully expect the Capitals to make another run at the Stanley Cup with their newly improved roster.

New York Islanders: 2 Key Factors to Beating the Capitals

Alex Ovechkin

The New York Islanders will face the Washington Capitals in round 1 of the 2020 NHL playoffs. Most, if not all, Islanders fans wanted this matchup. No matter how cold the Boston Bruins are, they are still the toughest team to play. The Islanders have a real shot of beating the Capitals and advancing to round 2 for the second straight year. There are two keys to this series that the Islanders must complete for them to win.

Stopping Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin could be 60 years old and barely be able to skate anymore, but still, he’d be one of the most dangerous players on the ice. Ovechkin has been playing in the NHL for 19 years, and he’s still one of the most explosive players on the ice. He has had one shot that no goalie/defense could ever stop. Ovechkin goes right into the left circle and receives the pass from the defenseman at the point, boom he’s scoring that every time. There is literally a player on the ice whose specific job is to stop Ovi from getting the puck there. The Islanders must not let Ovechkin tee up his wrister if they want to win the series.

Not Getting too Fancy

The Islanders have a tendency not to take a billion shots, but instead, just take one “perfect” shot. The Florida Panthers powerplay works because they shoot for rebounds and better chances. The Islanders just pass it around for 2 minutes and take one shot from the point. The Islanders need to take 35-40 shots a game, hope for a rebound and hope that the guy you pay $7 million dollars will tap it in. The Capitals are a good team, but no good team can stop a rebound shot when the goalie is out of position.

Conclusion

The Islanders have a tough challenge ahead of them. The Capitals have Ovi, Backstrom, Vrana, Oshie, Carlson, and Holtby. It will be interesting to see Barry Trotz match up his guys.

New York Islanders: Onto the Real Round 1

New York Islanders, Barry Trotz

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers today with a score of 5-1 and win the series 3-1. This is was not an unexpected outcome for NHL fans, but it was for “analysts.” The Panthers are not a playoff team right now and will have to rebuild a tad bit of their lineup to make that jump.

The Islanders dominated most of the periods during this series. The only thing the Islanders didn’t execute well on was the powerplay kill. This will be a focus of head coach Barry Trotz in the upcoming practices. Now that the Islanders won and will move on, what’s next for the team from the Island?

Scenarios

If the Montreal Canadiens win today’s game vs the Pittsburgh Penguins, they will win the series 3-1 and decide the Islander’s fate. The Islanders would play the winner of Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals if the Canadiens win. If the Penguins win the series, the Islanders would play the loser of the Philadelphia Flyers vs the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders can only play the 2nd or 3rd seed, but luckily for the Isles, they can play anyone.

Matchup Preference

I imagine that Barry Trotz is hoping to play the Capitals in round 1. It’s a familiar face, as Trotz was the former head coach of the Caps. Not only will it bring a second round birth for either team, but it will also bring bragging rights. If the Islanders win, the narrative is, “Trotz can beat any team with any team.”

If the Capitals win, the narrative is, “The Capitals didn’t need Trotz as much as we think they did.” The Islanders most likely don’t want to play the Bruins. The Bruins are the hardest team to beat in the league, even though they’ve lost their last two games. The Bruins have a superstar line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pasternak, with defenseman Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy backing them up. Along with Tukka Rask in net, the Bruins are not a team you want to run into in the playoffs.

Conclusion

The Islanders have clinched the playoffs for the second year in a row, and that’s something to be proud of. They lost their franchise center John Tavares and still found a way to win. Islanders’ fans can go to bed at night knowing that they finished farther than the Maple Leafs for the second year in a row.