Yesterday's practice brought a line shuffle for a New York Islanders team struggling to find consistent offense. Today brings another tweak, with Matt Martin (instead of Nino Niederreiter) skating on the third line with Josh Bailey and Michael Grabner.
In one sense, with a seventh shutout the other night (against a very good goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist) the Islanders offense has faltered. But in terms of the Jack Capuano "get pucks to the net" strategy, it actually had been doing better:
Over the last 10 games the Islanders have averaged 30.9 shots per game, which is higher than their current 29.4 season average but also a boost to the 28.8 per game season average they had before this 10-game stretch. (This stretch included three OT games; the 24 prior games included five contests that reached OT.) Meanwhile, the 2.3 goals per game (excluding shootout "goals") over that stretch is likewise an increase over their season average (now up to 2.21).
These are small margins of course, where a big night -- such as the 5-1 feast over the Lightning -- and different personnel and opponents and slumps can alter the totals. The Islanders overall struggle to score and by altering the lines Capuano is no doubt looking for more balance. He just might be trying to squeeze more from a turnip.
We'll have more on that topic later. The Garth Snow "GM Show" Q&A is today at 1:30 p.m. Some quick links before the Power Ranking tables:
- Newsday on early season woes returning. P.A. Parenteau: "It seems like we don't learn quick enough from our mistakes."
- Scary news about Pascal Morency
- IPB's "Best of 2011" Heart and Soul Player of the Year
- The official site pimps the looming return of Brian Rolston and Jay Pandolfo
- Also from the official: Tavares, Okposo, Hamonic and Parenteau recall their WJC days.
- Not Isles-related: For the SB Nation hub, I looked back at the first modern NHL outdoor game ... in the desert.
- Also from the hub, and also not Isles-related: Top New York Sports Stories of 2011.
Media Power Rankings
And now on to the media power rankings survey, which is a little light as two usual outlets haven't updated after Christmas:
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||Entering the week, P.A. Parenteau is tied for the team lead in scoring. I'm not sure if that's good news for P.A. Parenteau or bad news for the New York Islanders.|
||[not updated yet]|
|26||25||The Isles look as though they know what they're doing for a game or two. Then reality sets in, as it did in their final two losses before the break. The loss of Al Montoya is problematic, although Evgeni Nabokov getting some work should create at least a modicum of interest from teams looking for a veteran backup as the trade deadline approaches.|
[gone dark and cold]
|29||26||[not updated yet]
||27||Rookie Nino Niederreiter returned from a concussion but is still looking to find his niche. The fifth overall pick in 2010 has one goal in 10 games and will look to earn more ice time than the 8:38 per game he currently gets.|
Up down, up down, still 27-ish territory
With a couple of regular sites not updated yet, we'll add to this later -- if they do -- for posterity.
Real Power Rankings
And now on to our weekly "real" power rankings courtesy of Mike, or ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), who conceived and delivers these week after week. They are calculated in true "power ranking" fashion -- i.e. how well teams fare based on their opponents' records.
The Islanders remain the same (27th), but Minnesota's run of losses has them tumbling. (They were still top of the table in last week's ranking.)