However you slice it, the New York Islanders have a problem. They’re either not getting the goaltending they need from Jaroslav Halak, or they’re not defending well enough in front of him.
In the wake of last night’s 6-5 loss to the Rangers, the Islanders now own the 24th-ranked goals-against average in the league. The six teams below them are Toronto, Columbus, Dallas, Arizona, Edmonton, and Buffalo. Which is not a great place to be, even if you do control possession, score a lot of goals and win a lot of games, like the exciting, young Isles most certainly do.
Suffice to say, Halak, an All-Star Game replacement for Jimmy Howard, did not play like an All-Star last night against the Rangers. And statistically speaking, despite all the nice things that have been written about him, he’s not actually having a very good season. Out of 43 regular NHL netminders, Halak’s .910 save percentage ranks 26th. It’s been dropping, too. Since Jan. 1, he’s allowed 48 goals on 480 shots, for a .900 success rate.
Blame Halak, the goalie who was brought in to provide stability at the all-important position. Blame the guys in front of him. Blame the coaching staff. Blame everyone.
The fact remains, with the playoffs looming, the Isles have to be concerned about their team save percentage of .898, currently tied for second to last in the NHL with Dallas and Arizona, and only the sad Oilers (.888) below.