Islanders 5-on-5: Here be monsters

Scotty Bowman is often attributed with saying that your team's special teams percentages should add up to at least 100 if you want to be doing okay. The Islanders, at 18.7% + 80.8%, are close to 100 (99.5), but they are decidedly not doing okay.

Admittedly, this "formula" is a rather old-school, "ooh, look, numbers!" way of looking at things, but it's a nice rough gander at special teams. The problem for the Islanders, of course, is horrendous 5-on-5 performance undermines decent special teams play.

As I mentioned last week when looking at Forechecker's compilation of "PythagenPuck" rankings, a six nine-game losing streak is no time to just pile on: We already know the team is bad. But we should understand just how bad, relative to the league, that the Islanders' 5-on-5 play has been. With a 0.48 GF/GA 5-on-5 average, the Islanders remain worst in the league by a country mile. [Big chart after the jump.]

The next-worst, the Blues, are at 0.78. After that 0.30 jump, the increments in the rankings are generally about .02 to .03 (except for Boston and New Jersey, who are at the top with 1.76 and 1.48, respectively).

Another way to look at this: J.P. at Japers' Rink did a rough sketch combining teams' rankings in 5-on-5, PP, and PK to get a picture of which teams might be better (underachieving) or worse (overachieving) than their records indictate. J.P. admits that 5-on-5 play should be weighted in his sketch (more goals are scored 5-on-5), but since it is not, the Islanders look like their record is "underachieving" their actual play.

But it's not, and the vast difference in their 5-on-5 performance from the rest of the league indicates how J.P.'s compilation could make them look like victims of misfortune.

We can tell observationally that -- whether by system or by inconsistent, constantly injured personnel -- they are a mess at even strength. They rely on their PP so much for offense because without it, they're just not generating nor preventing goals.

(Sumptuously, this situation provides evidence for two opposing camps of Islanders fans: the ones who say Gordon's system isn't working, so he needs to change; and the ones who say the weak personnel and/or injury carnage is the only problem, so he should stay the course and keep drilling it into the heads of the kids who will be here a while.)

League Team Stats for Dec. 21

Here's an overview of the whole league, ranked by 5-on-5 play, as of today. Note how Montreal is still struggling with an awful power play, but their 5-on-5 is near the top. (Which scenario would you prefer?) Amazing how the departure of a guy like Mark Streit makes such a difference, but we've seen why. I'll do a separate post on Streit later this week.

Note also that Atlanta (the Isles' next opponent), which is middle of the pack 5-on-5, is 29th in the standings with an absolutely atrocious penalty kill.

The look, as of Dec. 21 games, for posterity's sake. (Note: if anyone knows the way to a league "wayback machine" database where you can look up league stats/rankings on any given date, do drop a note in comments. That's a tool that would be lovely).

Team GP W L OT   P       P%
5-5F/A     PP%     PK%
1 BOS 33 24 5 4 52 0.788 1.76 27.5 80.6
2 NJD 31 19 9 3 41 0.661 1.48 17.3 79.5
3 ANA 33 18 12 3 39 0.591 1.27 18.5 82.0
4 CHI 31 18 6 7 43 0.694 1.27 23.5 85.1
5 MTL 33 18 9 6 42 0.636 1.24 14.6 81.2
6 SJS 33 26 4 3 55 0.833 1.17 22.5 86.0
7 VAN 33 18 12 3 39 0.591 1.16 17.9 83.5
8 WSH 34 20 11 3 43 0.632 1.16 22.4 79.6
9 CBJ 33 14 15 4 32 0.485 1.15 10.2 80.3
10 DET 32 22 6 4 48 0.750 1.15 26.7 80.6
11 PIT 32 17 11 4 38 0.594 1.09 19.5 80.6
12 FLA 32 15 13 4 34 0.531 1.06 14.7 82.4
13 NSH 32 16 13 3 35 0.547 1.02 13.3 81.4
14 ATL 32 11 17 4 26 0.406 0.98 19.6 71.3
15 PHX 33 16 13 4 36 0.545 0.97 13.9 82.0
16 EDM 31 14 14 3 31 0.500 0.96 17.7 74.3
17 TOR 32 13 13 6 32 0.500 0.96 21.8 75.2
18 PHI 33 18 8 7 43 0.652 0.95 27.6 84.0
19 CGY 33 18 11 4 40 0.606 0.94 18.2 85.1
20 CAR 34 16 13 5 37 0.544 0.91 15.1 79.6
21 DAL 32 13 14 5 31 0.484 0.89 14.1 76.3
22 TBL 32 7 16 9 23 0.359 0.88 14.7 80.4
23 BUF 33 16 13 4 36 0.545 0.87 18.8 87.6
24 COL 33 16 16 1 33 0.500 0.86 15.4 80.0
25 NYR 36 22 12 2 46 0.639 0.86 14.7 89.4
26 MIN 32 16 14 2 34 0.531 0.85 22.3 88.6
27 LAK 33 13 14 6 32 0.485 0.83 18.5 82.9
28 OTT 31 12 14 5 29 0.468 0.81 17.8 81.6
29 STL 33 13 17 3 29 0.439 0.78 22.3 80.8
30 NYI 33 10 20 3 23 0.348 0.48 18.7 80.8
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