Ahead of the upcoming playoff series between the Penguins and Islanders, we take a look at some of the competition we can expect to see a lot of.
Players: Jordan Eberle
Age: 30 (31 on Sunday)
Size: 5’11’, 187 lbs
55 games played, 16 goals, 17 assists, 33 points, 16 penalty minutes
5v5 Fancy stats (761 minutes in 2020-21, data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)
Corsi For%: 55.8%
Goals For to Goals Against: 40 to 27 (59.7% GF)
Scoring Chance%: 57.4%
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 62.99%
2020-21 WAR% chart and graph:
The New York Islanders are a better team when Jordan Eberle is on the ice, but that’s not exactly reaching to make that statement. He’s a good player who seems to have really developed into a veteran role at 30 years old.
From a possession metrics and shot/goals/expected goals standpoint, it was by far the best season of his career, exceeding even his past three seasons with the Islanders.
Eberle has been somewhat of a catalyst against the Penguins. While playing for the Islanders, he has scored 8 goals in 18 regular season games, but what most people likely remember still fresh in their mind is how he played against the Penguins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With 4 goals and 6 points in the 4-game sweep of the Penguins, it felt like Eberle was just all over the Penguins whenever he was on the ice.
How the Penguins can combat him: Utilizing last change at home can be pivotal.
We all know how explosive Eberle and Mathew Barzal can be. The two were on the ice together for nearly 80% of Eberle’s 5v5 ice time this season, so combating that line will be key.
We know Barry Trotz is a great coach and will be juggling things around when the Penguins are on the road, so who Mike Sullivan chooses to deploy against that line and how effective they are will be key.
Eberle’s damage against the Penguins this season was limited, and his best game against the team came back in February, which feels like a lifetime ago.
You can’t expect to stop players of their caliber, but slowing them down will be a big help in cutting the legs out of the offensive firepower of the Islanders.