Even after big changes, Isles still struggling defensively

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The big problem the New York Islanders had last season was keeping the puck out of their net. Their 3.18 goals-against average finished as the third worst in the NHL, and the Isles missed the playoffs by a mile.

So GM Garth Snow made significant changes. He brought in two new goalies in Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson, and he added a pair of Stanley Cup-winning defensemen in Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

The big problem the Islanders have now is…oh…turns out it’s still keeping the puck out of their net.

After 10 games, New York (6-4-0) has, ahem, the third-worst goals against in the NHL (3.60). That’s lower than only winless Carolina (3.88) and “not anywhere good enough” Arizona (3.67).

Last night, the Isles dropped a 5-0 decision in Colorado.

“We’ve given up a lot of goals and we need to be better, help our goaltenders out,” said Boychuk, per Newsday. “But we’ve been a good team. There’s no reason to panic at all.”

The Isles have only been a “good team” because they’ve scored a lot of goals. In fact, just three teams have scored more.

But whether it’s due to poor goaltending, too many quality chances allowed, or a combination of the two, the fact Halak and Johnson have combined for the third-worst team save percentage in the league (.878) has to be a concern for a team that’s had more than its share of goaltending concerns since its Billy Smith-backstopped glory years.

“Our goaltending isn’t doing the job,” conceded Johnson after giving up five goals on 23 shots versus the Avs.

New York plays in San Jose Saturday, Anaheim Wednesday, and Los Angeles Thursday, before completing its tough five-game road trip Saturday in Arizona.