There was one obvious change and likely a few other subtle changes to the Islanders power play prior to their Oct. 19 game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The obvious one was the addition of Ryan Pulock to the lineup. He hasn’t been a consistent participant, having played five of the last seven, but he’s a mainstay on the second power play unit.
The rest of the tweaks have been amplified by the play of the Isles’ big three. John Tavares and Anders Lee have five of the team’s nine power-play goals, all coming since that game in the Garden after an 0-for-20 start to the season on the power play.
And Josh Bailey has six power-play assists, among the league leaders.
“Couple goals go in and you start getting confidence,” Weight said. “They’re moving the puck quicker and they’re not panicking — sometimes all it takes is getting some results. We’ve got two units that seem to be working well. Pulie’s done a good job on his as well.”
The Islanders are 5-2 in those last seven and had one of their better games in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals. Tavares and Lee struck for power-play goals on Thursday and both were set up by Bailey, who is on a goal-creating tear of late.
Bailey has nine assists in the past four games and 13 for the season, which puts him in the top five in the league. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Bailey has 56 assists. Only 10 NHLers have more over the same span and those are the headline names of the league — Connor McDavid, Erik Karlsson, Patrick Kane and Nicklas Backstrom among them.
“There have been nights he’s been our best forward, not just with point totals,” Weight said. “He’s a guy you can rely on away from the puck, just a smart player.”
With that Lee-Tavares-Bailey trio scoring at even strength and on the power play now, the Islanders can feel they’ve got a winning formula.
“You go through swings like this throughout the season,” Bailey said. “When you get hot you just want to ride it as long as you can.”