It’s easy to be excited about the Isles 8-4 victory Thursday night over the Washington Capitals, a team they’re chasing in the standings for the first spot in the East Division. Looking beyond the win column, it was the second time in six games that the Islanders put up six or more goals.
In between, however, the Isles continued to ride their feast or famine offense. On some nights, the loss of Anders Lee appears to be a problem too large to overcome without adding a player before the deadline. Other nights, the offense runs like a well-oiled machine, with contributions from up and down the lineup and bursts from the Islanders’ stars.
🚨Nelson makes it 3 in a row🚨 pic.twitter.com/zFM1sJcWZV
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) April 1, 2021
And while Mathew Barzal has certainly found another gear this season, scoring some spectacular goals (he knows he can score a normal goal, right?), the consistency continues to allude the superstar and his linemate, Jordan Eberle. It’s been the same story too with the rest of the offense.
The defense also continues to find ways to contribute, though it’s usually in the assist department. Ryan Pulock has still be held out of the goal column this season after multiple nine and 10-goal campaigns and Nick Leddy, despite his 25 points, only has one goal. In fact, their leader in the goal department is Noah Dobson who has three, and its been that way even after he missed time due to being in COVID-protocol last month.
With five games remaining during their current homestand, where they have a dazzling 14-1-2 record this season, it’s not only vital for the Islanders to collect points against teams around them in the standings during this stretch, it’s important the team finds a way to build momentum and find success on the road. At 9-9-2 this season, their road record is simply not good enough. In addition, despite finding a way to avenge themselves and beat a Caps team that had their number this season, the Islanders only improve to 3-7-2 against Pittsburgh and Washington (3-0-2 at home and 0-7-0 on the road). They’re 20-3-2 vs. again all other opponents in the East Division.
Aside from Boston, it looks like the Islanders will play either the Penguins or the Capitals in the first round and likely the other in the second. Making their ability to find consistency in all zones critical to having success in what is now the home stretch of the season.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @jonzella