The Islanders continue to prove that, no matter how hard you may be working and no matter how many of the "little things" you're doing right, if you don't score goals, you just won't win.
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I'm as frustrated as anyone when it comes to this team right now, mostly because of the inept offense. When you watch a hockey game, particularly one in which your team is playing, first and foremost you want to see some goals! That is what makes the Isles recent run (more of a slow walk, really) almost unbearable to take in anymore.
I <a href=http://www.hockeybuzz.com/boards/thread.php?thread_id=32196&page=1>commented</a> yesterday during <a href=http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=11954>B.D. Gallof's live blog</a> that it seemed like the Isles score about a goal a game. After I actually looked at a few stats, after last night's 2-1 loss to Buffalo, the Islanders are actually averaging 2.25 goals per game in their first 32 contests. (2.16 in regulation, after removing 2 OT winners and a shootout marker.) Not as bad as it seems, certainly, but worth delving deeper to see the cold, hard truth behind it all as the numbers so plainly tell us.
If you take out the six goals the Islanders scored in the season opener in Buffalo, their average in the 31 games since dips to 2.13.
Thirteen days later, the Isles topped the Capitals in Washington 5-2. Remove that offensive "explosion" and aside from the 6-goal game in Buffalo and the 5 put up in Washington and the Islanders have averaged just 2.03 goals per game in their other thirty contests.
I reference these particular two games because those are the only instances this season where the Isles have scored 5 goals or more - clearly aberrations in a season of stinkers.
In between the season opener and the 5-2 win in Washington, the Islanders scored 3 goals, 1 goal, 2 goals, 1 goal and 1 goal in their next 5 games for a paltry goals-per-game mark of 1.60. Not surprisingly, they went just 2-3 in that span.
On October 20th, the Isles notched 4 goals (one in overtime) to edge the New Jersey Devils at home. The following night, the Isles put up another 3-spot, but couldn't hold the fort and fell to Carolina 8-3. In their next contest, hosting the Lightning at home, the Islanders scored 4 times while shutting Tampa out.
The three game stretch from October 18th-27th (2 wins and a loss) was the Islanders hottest such trifecta of the season, in terms of goal-scoring, tallying 12 times in that span for an average of 4.00.
The 4-0 home win over Tampa Bay on November 1st was the last time the Islanders scored 4 or more goals in a game. (They've only done so 4 times all season.) After that is when things get really meek.
Since November 1st, the Isles have scored 42 goals in 21 games for an average of 2.00 goals per game. This total includes a 3-2 shootout win over Ottawa on the 28th of November, so the actual number of legitimate goals scored in this 21-game span is 41, dipping the GPG under 2 at 1.95. If we remove the overtime winner scored by Mike Sillinger in Tampa against the Lightning, the regulation time goals-per-game average for the Islanders during this stretch of 21 games falls to a pathetic 1.90.
In 18 home games this season, the Isles have lit the lamp 40 times for an average of 2.22 GPG. (Take away the shootout win vs. Ottawa and an OT win vs. New Jersey and that's 38 goals in 18 regulation hockey games for an average of 2.11.)
In 14 road contests, they've managed 32 goals for an average of 2.29 (31 in regulation drops the average to 2.21.)
October goals scored: 26 in 9 games (2.89 GPG, 2.78 in regulation.)
November goals scored: 30 in 14 games (2.14 GPG, 2.07 in regulation.)
December goals scored: 16 in 9 games (1.78 GPG, 1.67 in regulation.)
Clearly, it's gotten progressively worse month-to-month ...
With an even 32 games played thus far, it's easy to chop the season up into 4-game increments to dig even deeper (though I understand the hesitance to uncover the ugliness we might find.)
10/5-10/10: 3-1-0, 12 goals scored, 3.00 GPG
10/11-10/20: 2-2-0, 11 goals scored, 2.75 GPG (2.50 in regulation)
10/27-11/6: 3-1-0, 13 goals scored, 3.25 GPG
11/10-11/16: 2-2-0, 7 goals scored, 1.75 GPG
11/19-11/24: 2-2-0, 6 goals scored, 1.50 GPG
11/26-12/1: 1-2-1, 7 goals scored, 1.75 GPG (1.50 in regulation)
12/3-12/8: 1-2-1, 7 goals scored, 1.75 GPG (1.50 in regulation)
12/12-12/19: 1-3-0, 9 goals scored, 2.25 GPG
A bit of a spike in the last four games (thanks to consecutive 3-goal outputs at Buffalo and at home vs. Phoenix) but, still, it seems to be getting progressively worse as the season wears on.
You just can't have 16-game chunks with 2 or fewer goals per game and expect to win. That the Isles were able to go 6-8-2 during that span from November 10th to December 8th is amazing (and a real credit to Rick DiPietro, no less.)
That said, it's worth pointing out that the Islanders goals against per game average is 2.78. (Remove the two drubbings from Toronto and Carolina early on this year, 8-1 and 8-3 respectively, and it falls to 2.43.)
The holiday roster freeze is now upon us, with no offensive help seemingly on the horizon - Kyle Okposo should go directly to Bridgeport, folks, after the World Juniors and not straight to the big club, desperate as they are. The Isles will have to figure this out internally for now.
Otherwise, by the time February rolls around, we might see that GPG number dip to around 1.00.
It is that bad right now.
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