Friday will begin the Islanders' seventh set of back-to-back games this season, with the team quickly turning around to host the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday night. The Isles will then have nine back-to-back sets left before the 2014-15 season is completed.
However, the Islanders aren't stressing over them despite preparing to play two tough opponents in Detroit and Tampa Bay.
"I think we're all just used to it," John Tavares said after practice. "I think we've been a part of it for a long time now. It's part of the way the league is."
Tavares and the rest of his teammates also know they have a bit of history on their side when it comes to playing the Red Wings. Yes, Detroit is a tough offensive team to play against, but they have had trouble beating the Islanders recently.
The Islanders have gone 6-1-0 against Detroit since the 2008-09 season. New York has also played pretty well this season in the first game of back-to-backs, going 4-1-0.
"I think you actually feel really good on the back-to-backs," Tavares added. "You just feel that second night really in rhythm already from playing the night before. Sometimes you have a little more jump than you think. It's kind of funny, sometimes you're a little bit tired or worn down. Sometimes it just keeps you in the rhythm, it keeps you in the flow of the game. Sometimes when you have too much time in between games you kind of start out a little flat. It's something we have to be ready for tomorrow."
The Islanders have had three days to prepare for their upcoming games. Head coach Jack Capuano would not say for sure that Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic would return, but it does seem imminent.
"They went through full practice yesterday, full practice today," Capuano said. "We'll re-evaluate with our trainers this afternoon and get an idea of where they're at right now. It's good to see them go through full practices and play pretty well for us in these practices."
The team knows the impact it would have to get the Isles' two best defensemen back in a game.
"If we got those two guys back you have pretty much a healthy [defensive] core," Kyle Okposo said. "That's big. We were really rolling there and that was a big key to our success."