Above are the Islander Neutral Zone results for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. The Isles basically played Pitt even in the neutral zone, or maybe were barely beaten as such while the game was close (Entries were 33-32 Pitt in close, 17-13 with control). As much as it felt like the Isles were losing at even strength, they didn’t really do so statistically by much. Just a failure of special teams, really. And this was against a top team in the league – Pitt is really good, much improved from last year.
Through 5 games, the Isles have basically beaten my expectations in ordinary fancystats. I mentioned that the goal for me was to get 6 points (they got 8) and to be above 50% fenwick close (they’re at 56.7%), so yeah that’s pretty nice. That said, their possession victories have come near entirely in the offensive zone – their neutral zone fenwick is just below even (49.8%), but they are massively outperforming what we’d expect from their entries in the offensive zone (the defensive zone #s are slightly below average).
So the goal for the next 5 games should be the following: Keep up above average possession numbers, 6 more points, and to win the neutral zone. The team should be now more used to how their linemates and d pairs play, and should get a healthy Lubo back soon, so this should definitely be attainable.
PS: I was asked in a comment to post who the above Islanders are in my neutral zone tracking. You can see the Islanders by Sweater # below: