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Islanders piece together respectable start after first half of daunting road trip

Islanders Barzal
Oct 24, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second period at T-Mobile Arena. The Islanders defeated the Golden Knights 2-0.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After six games and 5,256 miles traveled, the New York Islanders are heading home for a much-needed reprieve as they’ve played nearly half of their franchise-record 13-game road trip while UBS Arena is being completed.

A quick chance to recharge the batteries allows an opportunity to re-center and re-focus before they have to be in Nashville on Thursday night to meet the Predators — kicking off the second part of their tour around North America with seven away games scheduled across 18 days.

The Islanders return to New York after salvaging their opening stretch of games this season. After losing their first two matchups with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers, the Islanders are on a four-game point streak (3-0-1) featuring back-to-back shutout victories on consecutive nights over the Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights. 

“It’s good to get a few wins, build our confidence,” Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. “It was a long trip for everyone but it’s a good trip. Also to get together and get to know each other, battle through adversity, and I think we finished that trip strong.

“We’re pretty happy with what we did on that trip.”

Through six games, the Islanders have seven points — which is a shade better than their road performance last season when they took 26 points away from Nassau Coliseum in 28 games.

“To finish the trip in this fashion is definitely big for the confidence of this team.” center Casey Cizikas added.

But the nose stays to the grindstone for head coach Barry Trotz’s men.

“I don’t know if there’s any relief [with how the first part of the trip ended. After every game and we get points, I have some relief,” Trotz said. “People forget we had six preseason games on the road, too, and we’ve been grinding through that. And then a long road trip in which we got off to a real tough start with an 0-2 start and we sort of had to piece it together.”

 

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