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Islanders getting defensive

by John Kreiser
Isles GM Garth Snow addressed defensive issues after the New York Islanders struggled mightily on special teams last season.

Advantage Margin: +6
Year 2 of Scott Gordon's tenure as coach saw improvement on at least one front -- the Isles had six more advantages than their opponents after being minus-47 in 2008-09.

Special Teams Goal Margin: -18

The Islanders were in trouble when they weren't playing at even strength. The power play was 27th while the penalty-killers were 29th and surrendered 71 goals, the second-highest total in the NHL.

Goals by defensemen: 32
When it came to offensive production on the blue line, there was Mark Streit (11 goals, 49 points) and little else. Freddy Meyer was second among the Isles' defense corps with only 15 points.   

Overtime Record
Total: 14-5-6
OT: 6-5 SO: 8-6
The Isles made life miserable for goaltenders in the shootout, scoring 24 times and converting more than 42 percent of their opportunities. Returnees Frans Nielsen, Rob Schremp and Matt Moulson all converted more than 57 percent of their chances.

Times Scored First: 39 Record: 25-8-6
Not surprisingly for a team with a huge home-road split in the standings, the Islanders were much better at scoring first at the Nassau Coliseum (24) than on the road (15). They converted 75 percent of their first goals at home into victories, but less than 50 percent on the road.

Best 09-10 Number: 948
Takeaways by the Islanders, by far the most in the NHL (Atlanta was next with 820). Kyle Okposo was third among all players with 78 and Streit was tied for fourth (and tops among defensemen) with 76.

Worst 09-10 Number: 18
Losses by the Islanders in 27 games decided by three or more goals. Blowouts were especially common on the road, where New York was 3-13 when the margin of victory was three or more goals.
The Isles open with back-to-back home games for the first time since 1995 and just the third time in franchise history (the other was 1972, their first season), then play 12 of their next 15 on the road. They also have both homestands and road trips of five games in January and March.
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