A central theme that has developed after the Islanders 29 games thus far: third period goals allowed. It’s not the only one mind you, but it ties in to others; blown leads, poor confidence, sustained pressure and momentum, defense. The list goes on.
When Eric Hornick updated his awesome blog with the latest Skinny on the Isles loss to the Senators last night, one glaring stat stuck out like a sore thumb. 42.
No, it’s not the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything actually yes it is, but read on! It’s the total of third period goals allowed, which owns the title of most in the NHL. Perhaps the Islanders never have those handy towels ready. Ok, that was the last unavoidable reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galazy, but not towards the frustrating New York Islanders.
The team cannot seem to find its true identity and they continue with erratic play (Perhaps we all should visit Deep Thought). It’s hard to put a finger on the pulse of the issue, but there have been a ton of excuses by the fans. Last night I heard a few things on Twitter – soft goals, blown calls and poor coaching. So lets analyze.
Soft goals: everything the Senators generated last night came off of bodies in front of Nabokov. How do you fault him for a soft goal when he defense continuously allows traffic and sticks in shooting lanes? Everything that went in last night was either the result of a tipped puck or a screen. That’s on the defense, not much more Nabby can do there.
The officials: Yes, there were blown calls (and non call) and a goal that was nullified after being called good on the ice. But what got them into the position to even care about the goals? Read above. Teams who struggle and fall short blame everything but themselves. You cannot EVER allow a call or non call decide the outcome of a game. I turned off MSG before the post game, so I don’t know for sure if the team themselves referenced this or not, but I know the fans did.
The coaching: I blame Capuano to a degree here, but honestly – there is only so much any coach can do to motivate players. Dare I say this (I’ll get grilled), but look to Philly with Laviolette and the Rangers with Tortorella – two teams with a tremendous amount of talent and they aren’t where they were speculated to be. I’d say the Islanders are right where they should be given their roster, overachieving a bit and lacking in certain positions. Not playing good hockey and protecting leads happen to be a byproduct of young growing team.
@islesblogger Isles are 8-2-1 when leading after 2 (Loss to Carol/Ott: OTL to Wpg). The two home ones are the more painful.
— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) March 20, 2013
Another little tidbit from Eric Hornick, thanks to his answer via Twitter (that man is amazing with stats) the Isles are 8-2-1 when leading after 2. Losses to Carolina and Ottawa and an overtime loss to Winnipeg. So surprisingly the 42 third period goals, while the most allowed in the NHL, hasn’t contributed to anything more than what amounts to heartburn and a mediocre record at .500.
But what is 42 the answer of? That’s simple – it’s the answer to an area of play that sorely needs to be remedied. Third period play, especially with a lead. I guess 42 really is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything in the end. Either way, the Islanders need to make sure they fix whatever is causing third periods like we have seen all too often, but most recently in Florida on Saturday and again last night against Ottawa. If they hope to make the playoffs, clunkers like this have to be avoided at all costs.
What else is 42 also the answer of? I’m glad you asked! You should read this to find out. Hopefully they add this post to the list! (I kid, I kid).
Thanks for stopping by – So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Edit: For whatever reason – this post was reverted back to a draft and I lost the original version. I think I got it back to what it was originally.