The Islanders' Josh Bailey is eighth in the NHL in shooting percentage (seven goals on 34 shots for 20.6 percent). But it's no secret to him that he needs to shoot the puck more.
Bailey's streak without an official shot on goal reached 20 consecutive periods Saturday night in the Islanders' 3-2 overtime victory over Boston.
Although Bailey views himself as a better playmaker than sniper, he knows he's got to adjust his mind-set to be more selfish.
"My whole life, I've been told I need to shoot more," said Bailey, a natural center who played left wing the entire game Saturday and was on the ice for 15:53. "It's nothing new, but at this level, you don't get away with it as much."
One reason Bailey struggles at times with maintaining a shoot-first mentality is because he can be too discriminating in his shot selection. "I feel like I'm not going to beat goalies from some spots," he said.
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But when Bailey relayed this concern to coach Scott Gordon, he received a helpful response.
"He told me, 'It's not necessarily your shot that is going to go in, but the second or third shot after that,' " Bailey said.
That has been a message Gordon has tried to impart to his entire team. After the win over Boston, Gordon showed the team video of David Krejci, Trent Hunter and Matt Moulson creating opportunities with an initial attempt that spurred other shots on goal.
What irks Gordon is when the Islanders pass up chances in the offensive zone, only to see their opponents rewarded with opportunities at the other end as a result.
And Bailey's reluctance to shoot often leads him to make "a lot of soft passes" that are easily read and picked off by opposing teams, Gordon said.
"We're not trying to take away a strength of his," Gordon said. "But he's got an untapped strength that he's not using because he's got one of the better shots on the team.''
Notes & quotes: Rehabbing goaltender Rick DiPietro, who did not play the third period of his second rehab start for the AHL Sound Tigers Friday in Springfield because of leg tightness, received treatment during the weekend. More should be known about his status today, but until then, he remains questionable for tomorrow's game in Bridgeport, originally slated to be the last start of his conditioning stint . . . The status of defensemen Andy Sutton (groin) and Jack Hillen (foot) will be a game-day decision when the Islanders face Florida Monday night at the Coliseum.