After a frustrating 0-4 performance in their 2-1 loss in Game 1, the New York Islanders are tweaking their powerplay unit ahead of Game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Head coach Lane Lambert tinkered with his powerplay formations during today’s morning skate. Rather than running their typical 1-3-1, the Islanders ran a 2-1-2 with Mathew Barzal moving from along the half wall to the blue line.
“Our special teams have to be better, both power play and penalty kill,” Lambert said ahead of Game 2. “We gave up to two goals on our kill last game, so we’re making some tweaks to both things. We’ll see what happens in terms of what formation things flow back and forth. If you have a powerplay that’s stationary and stagnant, it’s not going to work.”
The Islanders had four shots on goal in eight minutes of powerplay time on Monday night and are just 6 for 59 with a man advantage dating back to Feb. 20.
While their formation on the powerplay will change from Game 1, the lineup the Islanders will send out for Game 2. Defenseman Alex Romanov did skate on his own today. He did not practice with the team, essentially signaling he’s inactive for the eighth straight game since suffering an upper-body injury in a 5-0 loss against the Lightning on April 1.
Projected New York Islanders Lines:
Keys To The Game:
Powerplay Scoring: Aside from their abysmal powerplay effort, Game 1 followed the script the New York Islanders wanted: tight and physical. They held the Hurricanes’ potent offensive attack scoreless at even strength. Game 2 will have a similar story but a different conclusion if this new powerplay formation can produce.
Somebody Hit Brent Burns: In 22:03 of ice time in Game 1, the former Norris Trophy winner went untouched by the Islanders. Burns had a helper on both of Carolina’s goals in Game 1 as he skated around the offensive zone with ease all night.
“He’s got a great shot,” said Matt Martin. “He shoots from everywhere back there and gets it on net, so we got to be in his lanes as much as possible. And then, for his size, he skates pretty well, and he’s always looking to get up the ice. We got to get in his way a little bit. Be hard on him, and know where he is out there because he’s one of their game-breaking type players that we need to be aware of.”
Make Things Easier for Ilya: Ilya Sorokin was his usual Vezina-caliber self on Monday, stopping 35 of 37 shots. However, the two pucks that managed to get past him were a result of sloppy play by his teammates in front of him. Sorokin had zero chance of stopping a rocket of a shot by Sebastian Aho, who stood all alone at the right faceoff dot after Adam Pelech lost him in coverage. Stefan Mason’s game-winning goal also came from close range as he pushed his way to screen Sorokin and tip in a shot from Burns from the point.
How to Watch/Listen:
Puck drop for Game 2 from PNC Arena in Raliegh, NC, is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will air on MSG Network and be carried nationally on ESPN 2, while it can be heard on 88.7 FM WRHU and 98.7 FM ESPN.