After Tuesday's win over the Arizona Coyotes, the Isles have had a rare two days in between games. The month of February has been pretty compacted even before the five games in seven night stretch. The Islanders have played games essentially every other night since returning from the All-Star break.
Head coach Jack Capuano gave the team off on Wednesday, but skated them on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum. The break in between games comes at a crucial time to allow guys to catch their breath before jumping back into action.
"Rest is a necessity at this point," Colin McDonald said. "It's been hard to come by as of late, but this is the cards we were dealt and we're just trying to make the most of it. Coaches are good about keeping the practices short, they're not too hard.
"Workouts haven't been too much, so they realize the importance of rest and it's been good."
The days off also give some banged up players an opportunity to recuperate. The Islanders have three injured players -- Casey Cizikas, Mikhail Grabovski and Kyle Okposo -- and Frans Nielsen did not skate on Thursday. Capuano called Nielsen's absence a "maintenance day."
"He battled through obviously the last game there," Capauano said about Nielsen. "Fortunately we gave him a little bit of time at the end of the game to rest up too. He's just getting some treatment and we'll see how he is."
Capuano also said that Kyle Okposo has not started skating just yet. "I’ve heard rumblings about how far he is away, but until I talk to him and the [doctors] we’ll know more," he said.
Injuries are to be expected as the season reaches the home stretch and the Islanders aren't the only team dealing with them.
"This time of year everyone is banged up," Travis Hamonic said. "Everyone is bruised up, that's just the nature of the game and you have to play through it. You take the rest when you have an opportunity We've had two days between games and we haven't had that in a long time. It kind of served me some good and I'm sure the guys as well."
The Islanders hit the grind once again starting on Friday with a weekend back-to-back against the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes. They will have two more back-to-backs in the second week of March as well.
"We still have a pretty busy schedule the next couple of weeks," John Tavares explained. "Although not quite like the six in nine we just had, but when you get these couple of days they're certainly very important... It pays dividends not just for this weekend, but down the road."