Islanders’ Late Push Needs Under Patrick Roy

Patrick Roy, eleven games into his tenure as New York Islanders coach, has not improved the team’s playoff position, facing challenges with maintaining leads and a poor penalty-killing performance, despite making some defensive improvements.

Patrick Roy’s been at the helm of the New York Islanders for 11 games now. And guess what? They’re still on the outside looking in at that last playoff spot. Yep, same spot as when Lane Lambert got the boot.

Under Roy, they’ve managed a 4-4-3 record. That includes a 4-0 smackdown by the St. Louis Blues just last Thursday. And here’s a kicker: the Islanders have blown a third-period lead 18 times this season. Yep, 18. Eleven of those were multi-goal leads, with three happening on Roy’s watch. Ouch.

Take the other day against the Penguins. The Islanders were up by two with less than 10 minutes on the clock. But, bam, Pittsburgh scores twice. Sure, New York clinched it in overtime, but it was too close for comfort. And don’t get me started on the game before that.

Against the Rangers, the Isles were cruising with leads of 4-1 and 5-3. Then, with just five minutes left, they let in two power-play goals. And 10 seconds into overtime? Game over, thanks to a giveaway to Artemi Panarin. That loss stung, big time.

Dobson was straight-up after the game. “When you have a lead like we did, you gotta seal the deal,” he said, per NHL.com. “We just gotta be a whole lot better.” And he’s not wrong.

One of the big issues? Their penalty-killing is a mess. Sitting last in the NHL at 71.5 percent. Under Roy, it’s dipped even lower to 65.7 percent. “We need to build confidence, one PK at a time,” Roy said after a loss to Calgary, per NHL.com. “Below 70 percent won’t cut it for the playoffs. We need to step it up.”

Interestingly, the last team to hit the playoffs with a bottom-three PK was the Nashville Predators during the 2020-2021 Covid-19-shortened season. They had a 75.6 percent PK. So, there’s a glimmer of hope, right?

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Roy’s made some defensive tweaks. Under Lambert, the Isles were letting in 35 shots a game. That’s down to 31.5 with Roy. A step in the right direction, for sure.

These changes have been a boon for star goalie Ilya Sorokin. His save percentage has bumped up from 90.8 to 91.9 percent. And his goals-against average? Down from 3.21 to 2.83. Roy’s switch to man-to-man defense has cut down high-danger chances against Sorokin.

Yet, if the Islanders want a shot at the playoffs, they’ve gotta tighten up even more. Especially on that penalty kill. It’s on Roy to figure this out.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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