New York Islanders: Isles getting points in ‘ugly’ fashion is the season’s newest trend

New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders are successful for a multitude of reasons this season but their recent stretch of games shows them being successful despite winning ‘ugly.’

Did you know that the New York Islanders are in first place in the Metro Division? Well, they are and it will never get old reminding you. It is February and they are in first place which is still incredible.

At this point, it is getting too hard to count the reasons why the Islanders are in this spot. Of course, the conductor of it all is Barry Trotz and his coaching staff. He is the biggest reason the team is playing so well.

But throughout the year, I have noticed many trends about why the team is winning. Of course, it all comes together and they have been doing multiple things right all year, but in a long season, new trends emerge over the course of a few games.

light. Related Story. Where did the Isles land on our latest NY sports power rankings?

Early in the year, I acclaimed the Isles success to their ability to win within the Division. Granted they still are 14-5-1 vs the Metro, but that stood out earlier in the year where they won their first seven games vs the division.

Then, once that became par for the course on the year, it was a six-game point streak by Mathew Barzal that seemed to carry the Islanders into the New Year from December 20- January 3. That was even after he had a four and five-game point streak in the year.

Then, again solid all year has been the goaltending. But, more recently the goaltending has stood out. Since the new year, the two-headed Robin LehnerThomas Greiss monster has given up four goals or more only one time. That window includes two straight shutouts, one from each of them.

So, where does this leave us? I have noticed things progress throughout the season but realized they are sustaining it all. Mathew Barzal still leads the team in points, the goalies are still great, and they have the most intra-division wins in the NHL.

With this, the most recent trend I noticed is the Islanders are winning ‘ugly’. No, this is not some point I am making based on Corsi or anything analytical like that, but they have been grueling to watch lately but are getting results.

In the last four games since the all-star break ended, the Islanders have been out-shot in three of them. The only time they were not out-shot was in their one regulation loss during that stretch in Boston.

Over the four games, they have just one total Power Play goal. That one also came during their loss in Boston. Also in these four games, they have won the face-off battle just once which resulted in an OT loss to Tampa Bay.

These stats are not the reason for the points they are banking, but they are alarming. The stats prove my claim that they have been aggravating to watch. They are losing all the small stuff while not scoring a lot of goals, having just seven in the four games, but four in the one vs the Kings and one via a shootout win in New Jersey.

And while I am aware that the Islanders have been winning ‘ugly’ all season long where they have a 27th ranked power play, 29th in shots per game, and 26th in FOW%, this has just been the most recent trend I noticed over a stretch of games. (note all stats are based on games played)

They are getting wins in spite of not doing any of those things well. This entire Islanders season can be explained by these trends I have discussed. When Barzal is not putting on scoring clinics they are winning because of goalies.

Then, while and because the goaltending is great, the Islanders are winning games against the teams they will play the most throughout the season.

The way they are winning all those games throughout the season is by grinding out points and wins by playing well as a team and making them count and each shift is effective and the fine attention to detail, not padding stats.

Even when playing at seemingly their worst, especially as we have been watching them the last four games, they are finding ways to earn points. They will not beat you with talent, they will beat you with grit and tactics.

All these trends stood out at one point larger than the others. However, all of them are still synched together and exist every game.

Next. What a possible Robin Lehner contract extension could look like. dark

Great goaltending, beating teams in their division, winning ‘ugly’, having a reliable offensive threat? Yeah, all those things are part of the formula that will help the Islanders not just get to, but win in the playoffs.