Power play success gives Islanders hope they can get right

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If there is a sign the Islanders are, maybe, starting to turn things around, it might not be their three points in three straight overtime losses but, rather, their three power-play goals in two games. 

After just one goal on the man-advantage in 10 games preceding Saturday, that counts as serious progress. 

That the Islanders looked threatening on all four power-play opportunities on Sunday night is a cherry on top. 

“Feel like we’re playing pretty simple on the power play right now,” Sebastian Aho said following Sunday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks. “We’re just trying to get pucks to the net. We’re working hard. We’re winning a lot of puck battles.” 

Aho was credited with the assist on the Islanders’ power-play goal. At 8:03 in the second period, he unleashed a wrist shot that Jean-Gabriel Pageau deflected past Marc-Andre Fleury. It was Pageau’s first goal since Nov. 4 — and could serve as a boost to his confidence as well. 

“You go through some highs and lows,” Pageau said. “It’s definitely good for my confidence to get this one, but mainly just to tie up that game was what made me happy. We’ve been fighting, we’ve had some good looks and just to get that tying goal was big.” 

Islanders
Jean-Gabriel Pageau celebrates his power-play goal.
Robert Sabo

The Islanders sounded the right notes after Sunday’s game about seeing things starting to fall into place, and to their credit, did play well in the loss. 

“I thought we got really good effort,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Our power play I thought was good, our forecheck was pretty solid. We had emotion, we had physicality. Our work ethic was pretty good. We got some big saves when we needed it.” 

The power play isn’t traditionally part of the formula the Isles have used to win under Trotz. But the Islanders need to get offense from somewhere. 

If that’s special teams, then one gets the sense they will happily take it. 

“I think we just gotta stick to what’s been working,” Aho said. “Putting pucks to the net and just getting the greasy goals.” 


Matt Martin was a late scratch for Sunday’s game with what Trotz described as a nagging injury that he’s been playing through. 

“I just think that it’s affected [Martin’s] game a little bit,” Trotz said. “I just said, ‘Hey, you’ll get back in.’ I wanted to get Ross Johnston in. He’s practiced really well.” 

Islanders
Ross Johnston played in place of an injured Matt Martin.
AP

Johnston finished with one blocked shot in 11:09 of ice time. 


Casey Cizikas has yet to test negative for COVID-19 and remains in protocols, per Trotz. 


Adam Pelech went off late in the second period after blocking a shot off his left wrist. He returned at the start of the third. 


The Islanders sent Grant Hutton down to AHL Bridgeport after five games with the team.

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