The power has been out on the Islanders’ power play for about a month now.
The last time they managed to score five-on-four? Try Nov. 15 when they did it twice.
So when Anthony Beauvillier (hot streak) and Josh Ho-Sang (creative offensively) were spotted working on the second unit instead of Cal Clutterbuck and Johnny Boychuk in practice Thursday at Northwell Health Ice Center, it seemed like a logical plan to try to flip the switch back on.
Clutterbuck, Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Brock Nelson and Valtteri Filppula have teamed recently on that second unit. But coach Barry Trotz indicated the changes won’t be in play Saturday night against Detroit at the Coliseum.
“We wanted to work on the power play,” Trotz said. “That was a little bit just for look so everybody could be in something.”
Still, Trotz was noncommittal about keeping the same power-play combinations, saying, “I don’t know yet.”
Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey and Nick Leddy have teamed recently as the first unit. The Islanders failed on their lone power play in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to Vegas, so they’re 1-for-28 while going 4-6-2 over the last 12 games. And the “1” came five-on-three.
“There wasn’t a lot of volume [against Vegas], if you will, in terms of assessing,” Trotz said. “So we’ll see. The lineup will dictate a little bit, too.”
The Islanders just know they need to be better.
“It’s tough,” Pulock said. “It seems like sometimes we have trouble breaking it in, and then games where we break it in well, we’re one-play-away kind of thing or we’re just kind of not quite executing like we can, and it’s costing us.”
They have only 14 goals overall in the 2-4-2 slide. The Islanders still began Thursday in playoff position — third in the Metropolitan Division (14-12-4, 32 points). But the race is tight.
“We’re still in it, still right there,” Pulock said. “But it’s important that we start putting some wins together here, and I think our power play can be a big part of that. It’s key moments in a game, and we haven’t been able to use it to our advantage.”
Beauvillier, who has played some on the power play, scored at even strength in each of the last two games and in three of the last six. The Islanders obviously need more five-on-five goals, too.
“We’ve just got to create a little bit more stuff, put traffic in front a little bit more and get more shots,” Beauvillier said. “We’re a streaky team . . . It’s going to come, I think. We have a lot of depth up front and a lot of skill.”