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Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz Still Looking for More Out of Team After 3-2-2 Start

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New York Islanders

Seven games into the season, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was asked how he thought the start of the team’s 13-game trip had been going. He characterized it as OK, before naming a laundry list worth of things that the Islanders needed to work on.

At 3-2-2, the Islanders have rebounded from a lackluster start to the season and pulled together points in five straight games. Even at that there has been something missing from the Islanders’ game.

“Parts of our game have been OK,” Trotz said after Monday’s practice on Long Island. “I think there are a few parts of our game where we really have to lock in a little bit better. Some stuff offensively, a little bit more support on the puck. A little more zone time, could be a little more dangerous in some areas and then a couple of our protocols we’ve just slipped a little bit. … We’re getting points on the road, that’s a good thing, but I’d like to finish with a couple of wins.”

The Islanders have a few more days at home before they hit the road and begin the second leg of their 13-game road trip. They’ll get back on the road on Thursday when they face the Montreal Canadiens.

While the Islanders’ play has leveled off, the team has continued to make errors that have cost them points. They had been 20 minutes away from a win on Saturday afternoon in Nashville before they let a 2-1 lead slip away and fell in the shootout, 3-2.

The New York Islanders failed to convert on a number of 2-on-1 opportunities, even as its power play capitalized twice and the penalty kill was perfect.

“We were getting some chances, some 2-on-1s, and we didn’t capitalize on them,” Trotz said. “Therefore we weren’t able to pull away from Nashville. They were left hanging around and they throw a puck to the net, and it bounces off their player into the net. Then they won in the shootout.

“There’s things in our game where we just need to push an opponent out with those opportunities that we get. We did a lot of that today.”

New York has had a rare extended stay at home over the past week with only having to play two games over a 10-day span. It has allowed the Islanders to catch their breath in the middle of a historic road trip.

The time back on Long Island has allowed the New York Islanders to take stock on how things have gone thus far and the toll it’s taken.

“I think we’ve been fortunate, obviously we had a long trip to start the season, but we’ve come back now twice,” Anders Lee said. “We’ve had time at home. Although you don’t have the crowd behind you, you do get to get back into your own bed a couple of times throughout this whole stand. It’s tough, it’s long, it is what it is and we’ve been taking it on every game one by  one.”

The time at home may not only help the Islanders get a little rest, but help in a similar fashion to last season.

The Islanders had an unexpected week off after a pair of games against the Buffalo Sabres had to be postponed due to COVID-19. The Isles had five full days before their next game and they went on to pick up in points in six straight games following the break.

New York could use a similar run after this break as well, which already saw them pick up a point in Nashville and turn around the power play.

Asked what he learned from that break last year that could help his team this season, Barry Trotz simply said that you have to be able to adjust.

“Is it schedule-wise, is it practice-wise, is it travel-wise, whatever we have to adjust let’s take care of that first,” Trotz said. “So that it’s well thought out. Then let’s apply what we feel is the best program to go on so that we can accomplish what we need to accomplish. Make sure that we get the rest. It’s not very often with this group or with my staff that I’ll show up to the rink and go ‘ok we can just get through it today.’ We want to have a plan.”

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