NEW YORK — The Islanders fell to the New York Rangers 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center. Mats Zuccarello redirected a shot from the point with his skate for the game-winning goal in the third period.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
1. The power play needs to be fixed
On Thursday, Barry Trotz credited the special teams with why they beat the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. On Saturday, the power play was one of the big reasons why the Islanders lost to the Rangers at Barclays Center.
The Islanders went 0-for-6 on the man-advantage in their second bout with the Rangers this week. Let’s repeat that one more time for you, the Islanders went 0-for-6 on the power play against one of the worst penalty-killing teams in the NHL That’s not to mention the fact that the Islanders had 1:15 of a 5-on-3 to work with in the second period.
Using that second-period opportunity as an example, the Islanders didn’t force the Rangers to have to work much to kill the penalty. In similar fashion to how easily the Islanders killed the Ranger power plays, the Islanders stagnant movement didn’t help them much and they failed to record a single shot during the 1:15.
The Islanders may have been cheated out of a power-play goal when Anthony Beauvillier scored their only goal in the second period, it doesn’t change the fact that the power play has been ugly.
Trotz agreed when asked if he thought his team was trying to be “too fine” during the 5-on-3. “That’s what makes (the power play) so special, they can give you some momentum or take it away,” Trotz said.
2. The Islanders look like a different team without their younger players
Trotz opted to play Ross Johnston over Michael Dal Colle once again against the Rangers. Johnston played a team-low 5:14 and had two shots on goal. Now, this is not a knock on Johnston, because he does have his usefulness.
However, since the Islanders have begun to remove some of their younger, more skilled players from the lineup the product on the ice has slipped. The Islanders have played four consecutive games where their performance has been less than ideal.
They’ve found ways to win some of those games, but they haven’t looked like the team that went on a tear to end 2018 and start 2019. And the removal of Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang has not helped the situation.
And the advanced stats have shown that the younger players are making a difference when they’re in the lineup. For instance, when Josh Ho-Sang is playing on the third line with Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula their CF% is 59.72, while it drops to 40.26 when he’s not on that line.
(Editors Note: H/T Eyes on Isles for that last stat)
3. There’s always tomorrow… Literally
The Islanders will get the chance to turn the page rather quickly thanks to the schedule makers at the NHL. They’ll host the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning at Barclays Center. The Islanders are on the playoff bubble, which makes the game especially important when you couple it with their current rough patch.
“It’s going to be a big test for us tomorrow,” Anthony Beauvillier said.