Silver Lining? Islanders 2011-12 Scoring Chance Update

Matt Moulson is surrounded by a colony of Penguins. But not before creating a nice scoring chance.

It's hard to be positive for any professional sports fan who sits through a full game of watching their team fail to get on the board. The possibility of encouragement has to sink even further when that shutout is the third of three straight losses. But if I were an Islanders fan (oh wait, I am) I would be encouraged going in to Thursday's rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins

Yes, the Islanders got shutout. Sure, many of our ears are bleeding after having to sit through 60 minutes of Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey's "commentary." But the effort put forth by the Isles was much better than what we saw on the Florida trip. The execution by the team was better. And finally, even though we put up a goose egg on the scoreboard, the scoring chance differential was better.

 

The numbers for the Florida games were so bad that I didn't want to post them by themselves. I have a strict policy of never being the guy who delivers the news that causes someone to take a 30-story dive off the roof of a building. The Florida numbers were horrific enough that I couldn't make any promises. 

Luckily for my conscience, and the Isles immediate future, a different team showed up on Tuesday. Below on the left are the players scoring chance numbers for the two Florida games and on the right are the numbers for Tuesday's game against the Pens (COI stands for Chances On Ice):

Player

COI For

COI Against

COI +/-

COI For

COI Against

COI +/-

Tavares

7

16

-9

10

6

+4

Moulson

8

13

-5

9

6

+3

Parenteau

7

15

-8

8

6

+2

Nielsen

7

10

-3

3

0

+3

Grabner

5

9

-4

3

2

+1

Okposo

8

8

Ev

3

1

+2

Bailey

1

4

-3

2

5

-3

Comeau

0

3

-3

2

3

-1

Rolston

2

7

-5

3

1

+2

Reasoner

6

6

Ev

4

1

+3

Martin

4

3

+1

4

2

+2

Pandolfo

3

6

-3

4

2

+2

Streit

11

17

-6

6

4

+2

Staios

8

14

-6

5

5

Ev

MacDonald

5

12

-7

7

7

Ev

Hamonic

4

9

-5

7

6

+1

Eaton

2

8

-6

5

2

+3

Mottau

2

8

-6

5

3

+2

 

You'll notice that both the 1st and 3rd lines, as well as the bottom two defensive pairs, all managed to generate more scoring chances in the Penguins game than they managed to create in two games combined on the Florida trip.  Its also very encouraging to see that the number of scoring chances against were down, with all but four players having a positive scoring chance differential (led by John Tavares' +4), and only two players having a negative differential (led by Josh Bailey's -3).

While Pittsburgh may have capitalized on more scoring chances, the Islanders did manage to outchance the Penguins 18-13.  The encouraging number is that the Isles outchanced Pittsburgh 17-11 in 5 on 5 situations. That is a vast improvement from getting outchanced 6-13 and 8-17 while at even strength against the Panthers and Lightning, respectively.  With the lackluster 5 on 5 play from the Islanders so far this season, maybe they are starting to realize that they can't rely on special teams to account for all of their scoring.

So while a loss is still a loss, maybe it's time to hold up on all the talk of line changes or personnel moves. Maybe we should give this team a few more games to see if the Islanders have started to turn the corner offensively. Because the play of the Islanders in Tuesday's game is a good sign entering the last week before November. Especially for all of us fans who still have the memory of our 1-7-3 November of a year ago fresh in our minds.

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