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New York Islanders

Islanders Focused on Preparation, Not Rivalry in Exhibition Game

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The New York Islanders will face the New York Rangers in an exhibition game

Wednesday’s exhibition game may be a rivalry matchup with the New York Rangers, but don’t expect much in fireworks.

The game marks the first competitive game that the Islanders have played since March 10, when they lost 5-4 in the shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. So when they hit the ice on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena, the focus will be on making sure they’re ready for their series with the Florida Panthers and not about the rivalry with New York.

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“I think everybody just wants to play a real game,” Matt Martin said on Monday. To play an exhibition game, a little bit of a tuneup game before the real thing starts will be a good thing for everyone’s timing. The speed of the game and then obviously the physicality of the game, because it is a physical game out there.

“I think all that will be huge for everybody in the league just to get their feet back under them and then get their timing back.”

The Islanders had been holding scrimmages before they left for Toronto, but the speed and intensity don’t match what the Islanders will see against an actual opponent. It will also be the only chance for the coaching staff to see what the assembled squad can do before Game 1 against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Trotz had everyone available during Monday’s practice and spent the Islanders’ first day in the bubble focusing on their five-on-five game. They had spent plenty of time working on the special teams during their final week on Long Island and it will likely be a point of emphasis as they continue to prepare to face Florida.

Wednesday’s game will be an opportunity for the Islanders to fine-tune those aspects. Trotz is also looking to see how the pace of his team.

“We worked lots on (systems), we did scrimmage and all of that,” Trotz said. “I’m looking for pace. Get our four lines playing at a high level and our D pairs, and execute our plan. What we’re trying to do in terms of our forecheck, our neutral zone, our D Zone.”

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