As promised earlier, here's a little more on the Islanders powerplay, which has produced five goals so far, though two came via 5-on-3. (Not that scoring on a 5-on-3 is a piece of cake; you're expected to do it, but it takes some assertive play and, as we'll see, some luck resulting from that assertive play).
As you can see on the clips, on the Isles 5-on-3's there has been a good kind of urgency to the Isles puck movement -- not the sort of slow, just pass-the-potato-and-hope movement that can doom 5-on-3s to Death By Indecision.
As for either 5-on-4 or 5-on-3, the Islanders have shown a nice approach thus far -- once they gain the zone. As BenHasna pointed out this morning, that's still not an automatic with this unit. But at least right now the team has several of the complimentary pieces you'd want if you were drawing a PP scheme on paper. (A point cannon, a handsy point QB, a handsy half-board threat, a big body in front who can finish, and a multipurpose guy in the corner.)
After the jump, videos of four of the five PPG so far, with a few additional thoughts on each. [Note: I've been alerted the NHL videos weren't working. There's a workaround at the top.] I don't want to fracture the good PP discussion from this morning, but I thought now is as good a time as ever to get some highlights up and talk about how the team is approaching things in the new year.
VIDEO WORKAROUND NOTE:
Since the embedded NHL videos don't appear to be playing, here is a link to the game highlights (with clickable goals) of the Islanders-Rangers game, and here's the Stars-Islanders. Sorry for the issues.
Stars 5 (SO), Islanders 4
James Wisniewski (Weight, Bailey)
This was the first powerplay goal of the season and a welcome introduction for Isles fans to a strength of the Wiz: That cannon shot. GameCenter's play-by-play link actually doesn't have the video (they've mistakenly double-posted Weight's goal here).
But even without video, we can paint the scene: The new Mark Streit-less unit of Wiz as left-point cannon; Weight (who used to man the point to Streit's left) now on the right side, drifting a little lower than Wiz; P.A. Parenteau on the left half-boards; Matt Moulson in his traditional "Office" in front of the net, and Josh Bailey in the right corner serving as a moving threat as needed.
Doug Weight (Wisniewski, Parenteau)
This was the 5-on-3 against the Stars. Though Weight's shot took a fortunate redirection to slip past Kari Lehtonen, the play resulted from some great work by P.A. Parenteau on the left half boards, James Wisniewski at the left point, and Weight creeping down to the top of the right circle. A nice setup.
Unsung on this one was Bailey, in the right corner, easing in and out of the defense's distraction and making a very important play to retain possession about 10 seconds before the goal was scored.
Matt Moulson (Nielsen, Weight)
This goal featured a little different personnel than the others in the first two games: Frans Nielsen, almost roving throughout the zone, and Trent Hunter -- who poses a threat as a shot and as a bigger body -- instead of Parenteau and Bailey.
But while Nielsen made a nice play from up top to keep the puck in and get it down low, this goal was all Matt Moulson and his deft hands around the net.
Islanders 6 (EN), Rangers 4
P.A. Parenteau (Wisniewski, Moulson) from the half boards
This was the 5-on-3 in the Rangers game, which of course is the easiest powerplay goal to convert. The Islanders were working the puck well, stretching the Rangers triangle with two point men high at the points. But the conversion comes not thanks to a brilliant passing play; rather, it's from a fortunate shot block (off of James Wisniewski's hard shot) that caroms right to Parenteau. Parenteau still needs to get that shot off quickly to take advantage of Lundqvist being still out of position thanks to the carom.
Blake Comeau (Bailey, Mike Mottau)
This is all Josh Bailey, using some stickhandling and body positioning down low to draw the defensemen toward him and Lundqvist over to the side, while he slips a sublime pass to Blake Comeau -- steadily creeping low in the slot as he sees the play develop -- for a gaping net.
In a departure, it's Mottau and Andrew MacDonald at the points with Comeau, Bailey and Hunter at forward, a hybrid second unit.