Around this time last season the true version of the New York Islanders was rearing its ugly head. This season the opposite is true. The Isles are playing some great hockey.
When you look at the differences between the New York Islanders 2017-18 and 2018-19 season there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference. On December 23rd, 2017 the Isles had 42 points from 36 games, while on December 23rd, 2018 they have 40 points in 35 games.
But looking a little closer, over their last 12 games before the 2017-18 Christmas break, the New York Islanders went 4-6-2. Picking up ten points from a possible 24.
So while points alone might not show much of a difference between the two seasons this was the point of the year where Doug Weight’s men had it start to all fall away from them. The real version of the 2017-18 Islanders was coming to light.
If that same lesson is applied now there’s a much different team, with a much different outcome to play out.
Putting Up Points
A bulk of the Islanders 42 points in 2017-18 came from a period in November where they went 7-1-0 between November 11th and 28th. As Christmas approached that November cushion was evaporated. Again, in their last 12 games before the break, they picked up ten points of a possible 24.
From there the Islanders went 16-24-6 to finish 17 points out of a playoff spot.
This season the results have continued to come as the holiday season approaches. Of their final 12 games before the 2018 break, the Islanders are 6-4-2. Picking up 14 points of a possible 24.
That includes a four-game western road trip where the Islanders picked up wins against the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and the Arizona Coyotes.
The Islanders are putting up points as the season reaches the half-way point compared to their 2017-18 version.
Not Bleeding Goals
Not only are they putting up points, but the 2018-19 Islanders aren’t bleeding goals like the 2017-18 version. Through 36 games in 2017-18, the Islanders allowed 126 goals against. This season, through 35 games, they’ve allowed 95 goals against.
That’s a reduction of 31 goals against from last season’s total. Just shy of a goal per game not going into the Islanders net.
In a game where marginal improvements make all the difference, a goal-against not scored per game is a monumental feat.
While the Islanders aren’t currently in a playoff position, their play sees them sit just two points back with a game in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins for third in the Metro and three points out of a wild-card spot with two games in hand on the Montreal Canadiens.
The goal for the New York Islanders is clearly to make the playoffs. As it stands now they’ve put themselves in the best possible position to do so.
This time last season the Islanders were starting to show who they would eventually become. Hopefully, the same is true for this season’s Islanders team.
Want your voice heard? Join the Eyes On Isles team!
As the season hits the halfway mark and teams start to gel and settle into what they’re likely to be for the remainder of the season the New York Islanders are coalescing into a formidable team.