The New York Islanders still have work to do in order to make the playoffs. Their last five games are all on the road, starting tonight in Toronto.
But their chances are good — 84.5%, according to Sports Club Stats.
So how are they doing it? Is it just John Tavares being really good?
It is not. (Though he is quite important.)
Here are five stats that may surprise people who haven’t been watching the Isles all year:
1. Brad Boyes has 31 points in 43 games. The 31-year-old who fell on hard times in Buffalo signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Isles in the summer. He’s since enjoyed an offensive resurgence. Granted, playing with Tavares and Matt Moulson has helped, but that’s still great value for the money he’s getting. Only 28 NHLers have more assists than Boyes (23).
2. Andrew MacDonald leads the team in average ice time (23:31). The 26-year-old defenseman is another bargain, with a cap hit of just $550,000. MacDonald is also out there against the opposition’s best players, according to Behind The Net. The Isles drafted him 160th overall in 2006.
3. The Isles don’t drop the gloves much anymore (now that Zenon Konopka has moved on). They’ve only got 15 fighting majors, tied for third fewest in the NHL. (Toronto leads, with 41.) Matt Martin has the most fights on the Isles, with seven.
4. The Isles have four defensemen with 10 points or more. Actually, they’ve got three d-men with exactly 10 points (MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Lubomir Visnovsky), and then Mark Streit, who has 25 points. Hamonic’s another bargain, by the way. The 22-year-old has a cap hit of $875,000 and plays 22:41 per game, often paired with MacDonald.
5. Only five NHL goalies have faced more shots than Evgeni Nabokov (1,036). The 37-year-old (fourth-oldest goalie in the league) has a modest .911 save percentage, but there’s something to be said for a guy being able to stay healthy and play that much at his age.