Islanders still trying to fight through ‘frustrating’ power play with little indication of changes

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Islanders Hurricanes Game 6 pre-feature
Carolina Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal (11) ties up New York Islanders’ Matt Martin (17) as Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin (74) gathers in the puck during the first period of Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, April 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — The Islanders are still alive in their first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes despite a sputtering power play that has been a non-factor over the first five games.

They’ve scored just once in 15 man-advantage opportunities, including an 0-for-3 outing on Tuesday night in a 3-2 victory in Raleigh to cut their series deficit to 3-2.

“We’re not getting the results which is frustrating at times but we have to keep coming back every day with a plan and a way to go about things,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said on Wednesday morning. “We have created some looks. We can use a bounce or two as well. We’ve seen how some of these power-play goals can be and how close you are from going 0-for-2 or 1-for-2. Keep plugging away, keep working at it, and we’ll get it going.”

The top unit of Lee, Mathew Barzal, Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson, and defenseman Noah Dobson — who is quarterbacking the unit — have accounted for just two power-play shots on goal over the last two games. That’s across six total man-advantage opportunities.

The lone power-play goal of the postseason so far has come from the second power-play unit, when Kyle Palmieri tipped a Sebastian Aho shot midway through the third period of Game 3 to open the floodgates of a 5-1 win.

Islanders Hurricanes Game 3 Palmieri goal
New York Islanders celebrate a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of Game 3 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Friday, April 21, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

“It hasn’t come easy. We’ve had our chances, they haven’t gone in and there are times where we can be better,” Dobson said. “But I think [Carolina has] a good penalty kill and we have to give them credit. We just have to stick with it.”

Yet, head coach Lane Lambert has not made any tweaks to his power-play units, yet.

“Those are the five guys that have to get the job done,” Lambert said on Monday. “As we move forward here, we’ll see what happens.”

But when was asked on Wednesday if that is still his belief, Lambert declined to comment. 

“I’m not talking about any tweaks that we are making,” he said.

The Islanders will try to get their power play going and keep their season alive at least one more night on Friday for Game 6 at UBS Arena.

For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com