@ New York Islanders
Thursday, Dec 16, 2010, 4:00 PM PST
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
TV: PRIME TICKET
RADIO: AM 830
Your Enemy: Lighthouse Hockey
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Every now and then, your team plays a team that reminds you of how ungrateful you are. Not that the Islanders prove the Ducks haven't struggled this season, but they prove that things could be much much worse.
You throw out Anaheim's stats, like second worst shots against per game in the league, tied for second most even strength goals against per game in the league, or one of only two teams with a double-digit negative goal differential to register more than 30 points, and it's easy to see why watching a Ducks game this season comes with its share of pain. HOWEVER, you throw out Islanders stats, like one win in their last 21 games and just 15 points in the standings, and suddenly your lot in life doesn't seem so bad.
There's certainly an argument for why the Islanders will beat the Ducks tonight. And it goes beyond the fact that the Islanders heavily outshot the Ducks (7 to 1 in the 1st period alone) en route to a one-goal loss in November. The Ducks have found a way to underperform, even with a mostly healthy team, in key statistical categories.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are just suffering in terms of results. That's not to say that DiPietro's 3.81/.876 is nine games (and six losses) for the team isn't bad, but it's less telling of the Islanders' struggles than their league-worst winning percentage (.143) in one-goal games.
These teams have changed since they faced each other in November. The stat lines average out some of that improvement/decline, buuuuuuut I've said that about Anaheim before only to see them drag out the season-opening Ducks just for yuks. If the Ducks really have changed, they won't bank on a one-goal differential to get them to an ugly win, not that that's a bad gameplan against the Islanders.