Earlier this week, we saw the Carolina Hurricanes sweep the New York Rangers, the Calgary Flames beat the Winnipeg Jets three games to one, and more. On Friday, the New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers to end the series in four games. The Islanders’ style of play stymied the Panthers’ attack. Now, they’ll move on to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and face either the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, or Philadelphia Flyers in a tough round one series.
The Islanders’ Style Of Play Suffocated The Panthers Attack
Defense And Goaltending
Ever since head coach Barry Trotz came over from Washington, the Islanders’ style of play has changed and they have established an identity. That identity focuses strictly on the defense and goaltending and it showed in this series. The Islanders returned a lot of the players from the blue line from last season. They also returned goaltender Thomas Greiss but also picked up a new number one is Semyon Varlamov. Trotz understands by focusing on defense and goaltending that the offense might suffer a little. He also understands that the offense does just enough for the Islander’s style of play to work against many teams.
Varlamov started every game this series and played great. He faced 103 shots total and stopped 96 of them. The defense played a role in that as they suffocated the Panthers in all three zones of the ice. The offense just did enough to help pull out the victory. The Islanders’ style of play has its advantages, but also it has a big disadvantage. The downside is that the defense and goaltending can be great, but if the offense isn’t performing better against more powerful teams, they might be in more trouble than we thought.
The Islanders are middle of the pack when it comes to their offensive ability. By focusing on other parts of their game, the offense might lack firepower. In this series, they did just enough to get by the Panthers. The offense was spread out throughout the whole series. Anthony Beauvillier had three goals and two assists, including two goals in the series finale. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had three goals, Brock Nelson had two goals and an assist, and the defensemen showed up on offense in the form of Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews. These players will have to be even better as the Stanley Cup Playoffs go on as well as the whole offense.
Around The Rink
Last year in the playoffs, the Islanders used their style to perfection in round one but as soon as round two came around, the offense disappeared and they were swept. In this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, they need to find a way to get a little more offense, even if it means the defense and goaltending drops off just a little. They played a great qualifying round against the Panthers and they hope that their style of play can carry them on a long playoff run this season.
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