The last two days have not been at all kind to the New York Islanders, who have allowed 11 goals in two games.
The New York Islanders have now lost six of their last 10 games (4-5-1) and two of their last three. With this slip, despite how minor it may have been, they are now four points from the first seed and their padding on a playoff spot is just a measly two points.
For this reason, the Islanders simply cannot afford to let their glaring defensive issues slip even further. For as potent as the offense has been, the overall team defense has been equally ineffective.
Would it not be for the NHL’s second-best offense (behind Tampa), the Islanders would likely be sharing the fate of the teams they linger with defensively.
The New York Islanders have allowed an appalling 110 goals against, just seven goals behind the league-worst Arizona Coyotes. The closest team to them that’s also in a playoff spot are the 20th-ranked Washington Capitals.
Change is coming for the Isles, and it has already began for some.
#Isles Transaction: Josh Ho-Sang has been loaned to Bridgeport.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 15, 2017
With Josh Ho-Sang back in the AHL, the third line will need a new look, and Shane Prince’s return is right around the corner.
A Goaltending Conundrum
Speaking of shots and goals allowed, the Islanders goaltending situation has only gotten foggier since the beginning of the season. Thomas Greiss had a streak where he got hot, Jaroslav Halak — until recently — had done the same.
But it’s too easy to look at the goaltending totals and stick them with the majority of the blame. Sure, both tendies have been less than spectacular in some showings, but with the overall defense in the state that it’s in, even some Hall of Fame goalies would be exposed.
One of the largest issues with this is that the Islanders more often than not, don’t possess the puck. Their 27th overall rating with a 47.5 percent sheds light into a solution, but it doesn’t end there.
As a result of their poor possesion, the Isles are 21st overall in Corsi against.
Winning faceoffs is the best way to immediately gain possesion, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. The Islanders’ issues defensively lie deeper, and now perhaps having three rookies on defense — who entering the year had less than two seasons’ combined experience between the three of them — wasn’t the best idea.
However it’s resolved, it has to resolve itself soon for the sake of the roster. If the Islanders can’t stop the bleeding before the end of December, it might be time to make a move for another top four defenseman.
Shuffling the offense a little bit and being able to make an addition so desperately needed on the blue line could result in a win-win for the Islanders, but it seems general manager Garth Snow will give his team as much time as possible to resolve the issues before that.