What Went Wrong: The New York Islanders
This is a continuing series that will explore why the various teams that fall by the wayside did exactly that.
In order to win this series the Islanders needed to do most or all of:
- Take advantage of Pittsburgh’s sketchy defense and goaltending
- Work harder
- Get a couple goals from an unlikely source
- Have Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, and John Tavares hit another gear
- At least break even on special teams
They got most of #1, #2, and not quite enough of #3 and #4 while getting completely blown apart (33.3% pp, 90% pk for Pittsburgh) on #5. Thus the plucky Islanders gave the Penguins little more than a good scare. Malkin, Crosby, Iginla, Letang, and Dupuis (wtf?) were just too much for the eighth seed. Though we all no doubt appreciated the “beat the ever loving crap out of Malkin for no real reason” strategy, I think we all knew where things were headed in the end.
The Islanders busted their butts. They outshot the Penguins (197-167), and directed more shots towards the net (388-344), they just weren’t skilled enough to get the job done. Maybe if they had the Evgeni Nabokov of a few years ago, or maybe if Michael Grabner had showed up in any capacity, but alas neither of those things happened. They remind me a lot of the 10-11 Sabres, giving a superior opponent with vastly greater talent almost all they can handle. It was fun while it lasted.