The Islanders, ranked 13th in the NHL with 2.81 goals per game, aren’t having major problems scoring this year.
Scoring on the power play, though — that’s become a problem.
New York went 0-for-3 with the man advantage in last night’s 1-0 loss to Carolina, extending its current PP drought to 0-for-21. The last time the Isles scored a power play goal was in a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 25 — before the Thomas Vanek deal. Since acquiring Vanek, the Isles are 0-for-18.
Head coach Jack Capuano is at a loss to explain what’s going on.
“I don’t know what it’s about right now with the power play,” Capuano told Newsday. “We seemed to be out of sync again. It didn’t generate many shots.”
What’s odd about these struggles is that, prior to the slump, the Isles were scoring PPGs at will. In a five game stretch prior to and including the Pittsburgh game, the Isles were a scorching 7-for-18 (39 percent) and scored at least one power play goal in all five games.
It’s possible the club is still trying to figure out how to 1) implement Vanek correctly into its scheme, and 2) adjust to life without Matt Moulson, a PP specialist that scored five man advantage goals in 11 games prior to getting dealt. (Moulson also led the team in PPG in 2011-12, with 14.)
The Isles could also use some contributions from the likes of Michael Grabner (goalless in 13 games) and Josh Bailey (pointless in six). Grabner was especially down on his lack of production following Thursday’s loss.
“I have to figure out a way to score a goal here,” he said.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…