OTTAWA, Ontario — The numbers through nine games were, in a word . . . well, let Barry Trotz tell it:
“Shocking,” the Islanders coach said before Friday night’s game against the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. “We’re not exactly a timid team.”
The statistic in question was the Islanders’ man-advantage opportunities, which were so paltry as to be difficult to believe, especially for a team with a five-game winning streak.
The Islanders entered the game with 13 power plays, most recently the one they had in Wednesday’s victory over the Coyotes, which lasted less than a minute before they were called for a penalty themselves.
The team with the next-fewest in the NHL was the Lighting with 25 — almost twice as many as the Islanders. The Sabres and Flyers led the league with 42.
And five of the Islanders’ 13 man-advantage situations came in one game.
Finally, check out this doozy, courtesy of longtime Islanders stats guru Eric Hornick:
The Islanders’ five wins in a row included only four power plays, and no more than one in any game. That tied the NHL mark for consecutive victories while having no more than one power play in a game. The Flyers did it in 1982-83.
“[Thursday] night I thought we should have drawn a few more penalties in terms of hooks and holds and slashes and all that,” Trotz said.
“Maybe we have to lay off the refs a little bit. I don’t know, but for whatever reason we get one power play a game. I think our power play is pretty good, but we never get to see it, so hopefully we’ll get a chance at some point this year.”
Trotz is far from a big complainer behind the bench, but his players have gotten in their verbal shots.
On one hand Trotz sympathizes with his players; on the other hand, he also sympathizes with the referees.
“I don’t say a whole lot to the refs, as you know,” he said. “They have a tough job. They don’t need me yelling in their ear. The only time I yell is when I know I’m right. That’s not too often. They’re pretty good.”
Regarding the players’ frustration, he said, “Some of it’s deserved. They are getting a little frustrated coming back to the bench, and it throws their game off a little bit, so we have to reel that in a little bit.
“It’s hard, because when the guys are barking at the ref when it’s not legit, I understand totally that they deserve to not get the calls. But when you’re barking at them when they maybe should have a call against, it is frustrating for players.
“But it doesn’t matter. We just have to control what we can control. The referees, trust me, they have the toughest job in the world. This game is fast. If you ever as a fan go sit on the glass versus sitting high up in the stands, it’s a totally different game.
“Plus, they’ve got to stay out of the way of the puck and there are a number of players moving around. So it is a tough job and I have total respect for that, trust me.”
There is a weird flip side to all this: Entering Friday, the Islanders had been forced to kill penalties only 22 times, tied with the Jets for the least in the league.
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