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Know Your Role – How the Islanders have succeeded so far this season

Know Your Role.  Those three words are the Crux of the Islanders’ current eight game winning streak.  It hasn’t always been pretty, but anytime you win eight in a row not all games are going to be clinics.

The most impressive part of this streak is the fact that it’s been done with a Mish mosh of players in the bottom six.  Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, Jordan Eberle and Tom Kuhnhackl have all been out with injury or illness.

The Islanders have gotten contributions from all guys on the team.  When one goes down, another steps up.  When they give up an early goal, they get it right back.

Let’s start at the top.  The top line of Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee has contributed for 26 points between the three on this winning streak.  They’ve shut down other top lines and there have been stretches where Barzal completely takes over.

Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier and Derick Brassard have chipped in as well.  Nelson had his second best Brocktober and Brassard is currently on a four game goal streak.

The bottom six has been excellent even in limited time.  Michael Dal Colle has stepped right in as the new winger on TBFLIH.  Cole Bardreau, Ross Johnston and Oliver Wahlstrom has made the most of their time on the ice.

As for the defense and goaltending, well they’ve given up two goals or less in seven of their eight wins.  The last four games they’ve shut teams down, and when they haven’t the combo of Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have made highlight reel saves.  It’s a full team effort on defense, and guys like Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk and Ryan Pulock have stepped up offensively as well.

The construction of this current team doesn’t make much sense, which proves how well Barry Trotz’s system works. You obviously can’t just throw anyone in it, because you need to buy in first.  Every player has bought in so far, and the rewards have been the last eight games.

Can the Islanders sustain this?  Of course not, but as long as they always default back to their structure they will be a dangerous team come playoff time.  It’s all about knowing your role and not trying to do too much.  So far, so good for these wounded Isles.

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