Islanders Devils
(Julio Cortez / AP)

The New York Islanders depart New Jersey with two points and a season sweep as they set their focus to Colorado.

Offensive drought or not, it’s all the same for the New York Islanders as they hold their lead in the Metropolitan division by another two points.

The first period saw most of the scoring action with Kevin Rooney putting the Devils up five minutes into the first period.

Mathew Barzal had the Islander response, beating Cory Schneider on a breakaway in the first period. For the next 45 minutes, the goaltenders shut the door.

Both Schneider and Thomas Greiss put on grade-A performances on each end of the ice with Greiss making 30 saves to Schneider’s 27.

Josh Bailey came in clutch for the Islanders in the fourth round of the shootout and handed Schneider his 19th-straight loss.

They may have picked up the two points, but the Islanders were far from perfect, and that predominantly starts in the faceoff dot.

In a game of inches where the shot totals were fairly reflective of each other, the Isles had just a 36 percent success-rate in the faceoff dot — a constant reminder of their most glaring weakness.

Bailey had the worst faceoff-win percentage at 17 and Brock Nelson at just 36. Trouble in the dot is not news to the Islanders, and it’s continuing to eat away at getting offensive opportunities.

Though the Islanders continue to struggle in the dot, one thing that has continued to improve is the penalty-kill. The Isles PK now sits at 15th overall at an 80 percent success rate.

Conversely, the Islanders’ powerplay continues to be a momentum-haltering mess at just 15.7 percent (0/4 against the Devils).

Once it’s all said and done, the Islanders leave New Jersey with two points and now have to avert their focus to the struggling Avalanche.

The Opposition

In their last five games, the Avs are 0-4-1 and were outscored by a combined 24-10 in that span. Though Gabriel Landeskog‘s two assists against the Capitals were his only contributions in his last five games, one thing is abundantly clear: the Avs are hurting for depth.

Moreover, things haven’t quite panned out for Colorado in their crease as both Philipp Grubauer and Semyon Varlamov are posting numbers uglier than those of last season’s Isles.

Obviously, the key for the Isles and their struggling offense could be to capitalize on the struggles of the Avs. Outside of the Mikko RantanenNathan MacKinnonGabriel Landeskog line, the Avs’ next leading scorer comes in with only 40 points.

Though the Avs are more or less a one-trick pony, they’re still a resilient one-trick pony. The Avs boast one of the best lines in the NHL, a top-six powerplay and a blueline containing a 40-point scorer in Tyson Barrie.


Depth scoring has been a strong suit for the Islanders this season, but things have yet to click for some forwards on the roster. Anthony Beauvillier has yet to break a slump which has seen him produce just a single goal and six points in his last 20 games.

The same can be said for Bailey, but on a lesser note with just a lone assist in his last five games.

Adam Pelech deserves credit for some improved performances as the year has progressed. After starting off the year with some noticeable struggles, Pelech has entered the new year with a full commitment to improvement under Trotz and has been much steadier in his last 20 games.

His average ice-time went up to around 18 minutes and he’s tallied four assists to boot.

The Islanders will need him and the rest of their defensive corps as their offense continues to try and find their spark.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.