With Tuesday’s release of the NHL’s updated regular-season schedule, the New York Islanders have a busy road ahead of them before the regular season concludes on April 29.
The Islanders will not only play 50 games in 99 days, but they will also have to battle the force of 12 back-to-backs over that span.
I’m no mathematician, but that’s a back-to-back scenario every four or so games from here on out.
“The back-to-backs aren’t a concern for me,” Trotz said. ” I think it’s it’s more mental…we don’t have guys playing 25, 26, 27 minutes that maybe some teams do.”
“It’s just the amount of games that you may have to play. You have to be very aware. Of that when in terms of workloads, and we’ll probably shift guys in and out of the lineup a little bit just to keep some guys fresh.”
This season, the Islanders are 3-2-1 in the front end of back-to-backs and 2-3-1 in the back end.
Per Eric Hornick’s “The Skinny“, since Barry Trotz took over for the 2018-19 season, the Islanders are 23-7-5 (.729) in the second of back-to-backs.
This season In the front ends, the Islanders have scored an average of 1.75 goals per game and have allowed 1.12 goals against.
In the second game, the Islanders have scored an average of 1.25 goals per game and have allowed 1.75.
I asked Zach Parise Tuesday morning about the importance of his netminders given the back-to-back situations and if there is a different approach knowing the difficult stretch ahead.
“Those guys have been outstanding as of late especially, but the whole year,” Zach Parise said regarding the Islanders’ netminders. “We’re gonna see a lot of back to backs I think the rest of the year and when you have that ability to play one the first night and then the other one plays just as well the second night you know that that goes a long way for us.”
“As far as the approach you know, I think where we are in the standings you don’t look too far ahead. We worry about our game and tomorrow and that’s it.”
In the New York Islanders first back-to-back situation of the season, Ilya Sorokin, on the road, shut out the Arizona Coyotes and the Vegas Golden Knights as he stopped a total of 68 shots over the two games.
The second situation came while the Islanders’ were in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak but were forced to play through as they lost to the Calgary Flames 5-2 back on Nov. 20, their inaugural game UBS Arena, before being shutout 3-0 the following day by John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Semyon Varlamov was given the nod for the home-opener (stopped 26 of 29) while Sorokin was tasked with the start against Toronto (stopped 37 of 40).
When the month of December came around, the Islanders started to get healthier and in the process, began to collect points. Their first back-to-back of the month saw the Islanders lose 4-3 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings, followed by a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout.
Sorokin played against Detroit (stopped 26 of 30), while Varlamov went against Chicago (stopped 24 of 26).
And in the two games against the Philadelphia Flyers this past Monday and Tuesday, Sorokin stopped 26 of 27 in the 4-1 win, while Varlamov stopped 31 of 34, before stopping nine Flyers during the elongated shootout.
The Islanders have their next back-to-back on Friday and Saturday as they face the Arizona Coyotes and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Arizona’s contest against the Islanders will also be the first of a back-to-back as they face the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Toronto will have had two days off before Saturday’s contest against the New York Islanders.
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