Show Time: New York Islanders Playoff Preview

 2019-20 Regular Season Record% Games Won of Total GP
New York Islanders35-23-10 (68 GP).588

Somehow, on a wing and a prayer, the New York Islanders made the playoffs this season. The Isles ended their season on a seven-game losing streak and were 2-4-4 in their final 10 matches. Finishing 6th in the Metropolitan Division was unfamiliar territory for Barry Trotz, who in his second year with the Isles organization managed to not only win a Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018, but also sweep the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2018-19 playoffs. Despite then going on to be swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round, winning big isn’t new to the Isles. The other, other New York team won four consecutive championships from 1979-80 through the 1982-83 season.


The Islanders were mediocre at best this year. The season started off well, with a 10-game winning streak to end the month of October. Although New York lost in overtime to the Penguins 4-3 to end that streak, they pushed on and ended up taking the next five games, to earn 15 wins in 16 games. But by the middle of December, the team began to unravel. Although they were never plagued with injuries like some teams, wins became hard to come by, and in the month of January, the Isles were handed multiple losses in which the opposition scored six goals. In February, New York went 6-6-3.

All but one player on the current Islanders roster contributed offensively during the 2019-20 season. Even Andrew Ladd, who played just four games with the squad scored versus the Vancouver Canucks in the Isles last game of the regular season. Mathew Barzal led his team in assists and points (41A, 60 pts), and Brock Nelson carried the goal-load with 26. Cal Clutterbuck missed much of the season due to a wrist injury he sustained back in December, and it is to be determined if he will play in the post-season. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who the Islanders obtained from the Ottawa Senators, and immediately signed to a 6-year, $30 million-dollar extension, tallied 24 goals and 16 assists in 60 games with the Sens and two goals in seven games with the Islanders (HockeyReference). With Ottawa, Pageau tallied 12 goals and four assists in 35 post-season showings.


But between Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss, who will start for the Islanders between the pipes? Varlamov came to the Islanders from the Avalanche, and fairly evenly split the load with Thomas Greiss, playing 45 games to Greiss’ 31. Semyon ended the year with a 19-14-6 record, two shutouts, a 2.62 GAA and a save percentage of .914 (TheScore). Greiss had similar numbers, as he tallied 16 wins, 9 losses, and four overtime losses, averaged 2.74 goals against, and a .913 save percentage. Varlamov has more extensive playoff experience; two post-season showings with the Washington Capitals, and one with the Colorado Avalanche. Greiss played in 13 playoff games, one with the San Jose Sharks in 2009-10, 11 with the Islanders in 2015-16, five of which he lost, and one last season, also with the Isles (NHL).

The New York Islanders have until August 1st to decide on their starter. If the Isles defeat the Florida Panthers in their best-of-5 series, they will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, pending reseeding from the round-robin games.

 

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References:

HockeyReference. (2020). Jean-Gabriel Pageau Stats. Retrieved from https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/p/pageaje01.html.

NHL.com. (2020). Thomas Greiss News and Stats. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/thomas-greiss-8471306.

TheScore. (2020). New York Islanders News and Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/7.

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