Last night’s game vs the Stars involved the Isles being outplayed in the neutral zone, as you can see here. The Stars did a much better job than the Isles carrying the puck in, but the Isles had greater success in the offensive and defensive zones.
This has been a rolling theme actually – the Isles have actually been a slightly negative Neutral zone team in close situations this year and have dominated mainly due to amazing play in the offensive zone. While this can be a method for long term success – the Sharks have done it for the last 2 years, although they were also great in the D Zone, it generally isn’t the most repeatable of statistical profiles.
In short, the Isles probably need to get better in the neutral zone to keep up their great possession numbers. Here’s hoping they can figure this out – having Grabovski should help, as should Hamonic, although Hamonic has been extremely dump-heavy this year – when he was a big carry-in guy last year. Hopefully that doesn’t continue.