Fish Sticks; Islanders need to get creative on offense
The Islanders haven’t played bad at all in their second round playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Actually, they’ve played pretty well defensively, giving up only three goals in two games, one of the goals coming in overtime. However, as mentioned in the Game 2 write-up, the Islanders have had more disallowed goals than goals scored in this series.
It hasn’t been from a lack of trying, as the Islanders have hit multiple posts and have had an overall bad streak of luck. However, they’ve generated only one PP goal in seven tries and have not sustained any real pressure in the ‘Canes zone. The Hurricanes are out-Islandering (great word I know) the Islanders and although they’ll never admit it, it’s absolutely frustrating the Islanders.
The Islanders rely on high quality shots going in to fuel their offense. They’re not a “shoot it from anywhere on the ice” type of team and need high danger shots to succeed. When they don’t have that, or when those shots aren’t converting, you see why they only have one goal in two games.
In a hotly contested, defensive-minded series the only way to score is by either capitalizing on the few opportunities presented, or getting some lucky bounces. The Islanders have done neither and need to start shooting pucks more from anywhere and everywhere. This is not their bread and butter but they can’t keep overpassing looking for the perfect shot. It’s not realistic against a team that’s playing as well defensively as the Hurricanes are.
There are two ways the Islanders can start to boost their offensive production; Put the lines in a blender (which may work or may blow up in their face) or throw the same lines out but have a shoot first mentality. Mathew Barzal has been shooting the puck much more than he did last series. The rest of the team needs to adopt that mentality. The ice of the Barclays Center is full of weird bounces and slush, so the passing mentality of the Islanders isn’t going to work.
They head to Carolina down 2-0 in their series but they most certainly haven’t been outclassed or outplayed. Carolina has gotten all the bounces and the Islanders have gotten nothing but bad luck. However, sometimes you make your own luck and if the Islanders learn to shoot more and pass less, they’ll be in a better place offensively. It isn’t an exact science but it can’t hurt right?