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.