While the New York Islanders have had a strong year overall in a very tough division and look built for another playoff run, they’ve gone through a rough patch over the last month. The team has a record of just 5-6-2 over their last 13 games and are coming off back-to-back losses to the Buffalo Sabres.
The largest issue has been the team’s offense. That said, the Islanders have averaged just 28.6 shots per game during the stretch, which is only slightly lower than their 29.3 shots per game throughout the rest of the season. Over this period, however, the Islanders have averaged just 2.08 goals per game, which is fourth-worst in the league. Perhaps the largest contributing factor to this, as simple as it seems, is that the Islanders aren’t burying their chances.
Their shooting percentage since April 9 has seen a drastic drop from 10 per cent all the way down to 7.3 per cent, which is lower than every team except for the Columbus Blue Jackets during that stretch. If the Islanders consistently need about 41 shots to score three goals, they’re going to have trouble.
While New York’s high-danger chances are also down from roughly 10.1 per game through the majority of the season to 7.5 per game since April 9, the larger issue is how few of those high-danger chances New York is converting on. The Islanders’ high-danger shooting percentage has plummeted to 7.5 per cent for that stretch, which is dead last in the league by a mile. For reference, teams ranked 14th through 30th since April 9 all have a conversion percentage of between 13 and 17 per cent and up until 13 games ago, the Islanders were converting on 19.8 per cent of their high-danger chances (all data according to NaturalStatTrick.com).
While Anthony Beauvillier has exploded with six goals and 10 points over those 13 games, most of New York’s forwards haven’t been able to find the back of the net. Over the stretch, Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri have combined for just five goals. Not playing Oliver Wahlstrom in multiple games through this stretch probably wasn’t the best idea either.
The Islanders haven’t had enough goal scorers in their lineup over the last few years and losing Anders Lee was always going to affect their ability to find the back of the net. That said, it’s the players listed above who will be some of the forwards counted on most during the playoffs. So while the Islanders do need to create more scoring chances, the greatest issue right now is simply finishing on the chances they’re already creating.
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Who do you feel has been the most disappointing forward over the last month?