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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Skinny on Shorthanded Face-offs

Despite the hot start, the Isles have struggled on the penalty kill basically all season.

You want to beat the Islanders? Score on the Power Play.  Isles have allowed at least one power play goal in 15 games this season, and are 7-8-0 in those games.  In the 13 games they have shutout the opponent on the PP, the Isles are 12-1-0 (losing only to Toronto).

These numbers are even more dramatic than last season, when Isles were 14-21-4 when they allowed at least one power play goal and 20-16-7 when they did not.  

As evidenced in Minnesota on Tuesday, losing face-offs makes killing penalties so much harder. A rule change a few seasons ago starts every power play with an offensive zone draw. 

How have the Isles done on face-offs while shorthanded? This season, they rank 29th in a 30 team lead.

Faceoff %
Faceoffs Won
Faceoffs Lost
BUF                37.2 64 108
NYI                37.5 51 85
WPG                40.9 90 130
N.J                40.9 72 104
OTT                41.3 76 108

(These stats, compiled by war-on-ice.com, do not include Tuesday's games, in which the Isles lost 6 of 7 draws while shorthanded).

Team do  generally win a much greater percentage of draws while on the power play; only 8 teams had won at least 50% while shorthanded so far this season.

The Isles won 39.3% of their draws while shorthanded last season, which placed them last in the NHL. (Calgary, at 41.5%, was 2nd to last).  Since the start of 2009-10 season, the Isles have won only 42.3% of draws while shorthanded (ahead of only Calgary and Edmonton).

None of the players who take face-offs regularly have strong, or even good numbers, shorthanded this season:

Frans Nielsen has lost 42 of 63; Casey Cizikas has lost 23 of 40; Ryan Strome has lost 12 of 17 and Brock Nelson has lost 9 of 14.

The Isles are a middle of the road team with face-offs on their power play, ranking 14th before Tuesday's game, where they lost 5 of 7.

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