The Islanders are 6-11-2 at home this year, not the lowest amount of home wins in the NHL but the most losses by a few. Last week, the Islanders blew home leads in each of their games against Ottawa, Montreal and Pittsburgh, which understandably upped the frustration of the fans.

So what's the problem? Why are the Islanders so bad at home this year?

First off, it's a bit of a magnification problem. A small sample size coupled with recent events blows the problem up considerably. Two games go the other way, and all of a sudden they're 8-9-2, comparable to last year's 17-18-6. Still not great, but certainly better looking.

Some of it is also blown out of proportion. The Islanders surrendered one-goal leads last week against Montreal and Pittsburgh, the #1 and #2 teams in the Eastern Conference. For a below-average team, like the Islanders are, losing a one-goal lead to two different steam rollers isn't that crazy to imagine.

But more to the point, is that the Islanders are not a good hockey team. They are average, or below average, or slightly above, or whatever your preferred descriptor is but the fact is that they are not exceptional. They're 14-15-3 playing in a weak Eastern Conference. Sometimes, it's the simplest explanation that makes sense, even if it isn't the sexiest.

* * *

The Islanders have led or been tied heading into the third period in 22 of their 32 games this year. They're 14-7-1 overall in those situations, 7-6-1 at home, 7-1-0 on the road. But remember, those stats are with them tied heading into the third. When they are leading after two, they're 5-2-1 at home and 4-0-0 on the road. That's not catastrophic. They've blown a few leads, clearly, but when you take out the tied-after-two situations, it's not nearly so bleak. Clearly, those tied-after-two situations are where the problems lie. They're not winning the close games, which is exactly what not so good teams do.

One of the biggest reasons they're not winning those close games is goals against. They're actually scoring at almost exactly the same pace this year at home as compared to last year; 2.58 goals per home game compared to 2.51 last year. Where there's a major difference is how the Isles are giving up more goals at home, 3.42 per game this year compared to 2.95 last season. Nearly half a goal more. And that's got an awful lot to do with goaltending (more on that in a minute). It's also skewed by that 7-0 drubbing from the Flyers. I don't like selective statistics, but taking that out brings their goals against at home down to 3.22 per game. But again, still worse than last year.

Another theory, proposed by CBS' Jeff Cappelini last week, is that the Islanders are worse at home this year because of the move to Brooklyn hanging over them and the fans, but he's not really saying it's the fans, but really, the fans:

[sny-box]There is only one explanation for the Isles’ often horrifying play at home compared to their often inspired play on the road. They feel at ease on the road. They don’t lose their focus on the road. They don’t skate around on egg shells on the road, waiting for the other boot to drop. And if that’s because they don’t feel the love at the Coliseum, well, I’m sure they don’t feel a lot of love on the road either, yet somehow find a way to persevere. The nightly lineup and coaching strategies are largely the same every game, but the players’ execution and focus at the Coliseum compared to on the road is like night and day.[/sny-box]

Saying that the team "doesn't feel the love" at the Coliseum may very well be accurate. That said, if the team "doesn't feel the love" at the Coliseum this year, I don't know that what's been going on at the NVMC for the last half-dozen years or so could be considered different or remotely close to 'love.' And saying they "somehow find a way to persevere" doesn't back up the reasoning with any substance whatsoever. "Somehow" the Islanders are 7-1-0 on the road when leading or tied after two. Because they score more goals on the road? Because they get better goaltending? Something else? Welp, somehow!

(Spoiler: They get more goals, 3.23 goals for and better defense/goaltending, 3.07 goals against on the road. But that goals against number is close to the home number, if we discount the Flyers blowout game.)

But I can agree that this is a young team, and to see them not be resilient or fold easily is honestly something that could be expected of any young team or any average/below average team. As it just so happens, that's happening at home this year.

Capellini continues:

[sny-box]I had it out with folks on Twitter in the aftermath of the Isles’ dreadful 5-2 loss to visiting Montreal on Thursday. Their continuous defense or reasoning for the Isles’ terrible play at home was based on talent and coaching. I just don’t buy all of that, mostly because of the Isles’ stellar road record, illustrated by the proven fact that they don’t fall apart late in games. Or if they have, they’ve still more often than not found a way to win. Case in point, last Saturday night in Florida when they blew a three-goal lead in the third but yet took the lead back late and held on for the victory.

[/sny-box]

That paragraph literally disproved itself.

To paraphrase; 'It's a proven fact that the Islanders don't fall apart late in road games because of this road game that they fell apart late in, but managed to get a late goal to win.'

The Islanders very clearly fell apart late in the third in Sunrise, I don't know how losing a three-goal lead in a matter of minutes can be excused away and ignored because it turned out alright. In this instance, it wasn't the Habs or Penguins waiting to pounce, it was the NHL's worst team. Against the Panthers they completed the timeless clichés of 'persevering' and 'finding a way to win'. Somehow. Against Scott Clemmensen and his horrendous .862 save percentage and on a team that has a -38 goal differential. I don't know how they managed against such a tough opponent.

The Islanders are a team that finished 14th last year, switched PA Parenteau for Brad Boyes, added Lubomir Visnovsky, and got a bunch of defenders off waivers to replace a bunch of defenders who couldn't make NHL teams out of camp this year. For the most part this is a very similar team, albeit a bit better,  than the one that finished 14th last year.

Speaking of last year, there's also a surprising difference between last year and this year between the pipes. The intention isn't to pick on one specific player, but note something that stands out.

Evgeni Nabokov has a .896 save percentage (16 games) at home this year compared to .910 on the road (11 games). Last year, those numbers were .915 at home (17 games) and .913 on the road (25 games). In almost the exact same sample size, Nabokov has a .019 difference in save percentage this year at home as compared to last year. That means he's surrendered an extra 8.2 goals at home this year than he would have if he was playing at the same level he was last year (.019 x 433 shots faced). It would be nice to have eight goals back and a starting goalie with an above .900 save percentage at home. Also: as a 37-year old vet who could easily be retired by the time the Islanders get to Brooklyn, do you think he is all of a sudden shaking in his boots about what the home fans think or playing poorly because of his environment? Somehow, I imagine Nabokov is long past that point of his career.

The three other homes games that were not tended to by Nabokov were two parts Kevin Poulin and one part Rick DiPietro, all losses. DiPietro, who has played at the Coliseum for more than 10 years and certainly should be used to, er, an unfriendly home environment, started one game there this year. In it, he gave up five goals on 30 shots for a lovely .833 home save percentage. Poulin has a .857 home save percentage in his two starts. Maybe if Nabokov, who is getting a ton of work, started those games the Islanders could have won. Who knows.

Not that the goalies deserve all the blame for the home woes but, uh, yeah, a lot of it.

[sny-box]Is the Islanders’ lack of support at the Coliseum so poor that the team feels uninspired? Well, they do have the lowest average home attendance in the NHL at just over 12,700 per game, but it’s not like the place is empty. The fans still bring the noise when they feel they have a reason.

But what is annoying yet understandable considering the Islanders’ lack of recent playoff seasons and the fact that they’ll soon be heading to Brooklyn is the legions of opposing fans that take over the Coliseum.[/sny-box]

The idea that the types of fans in the building and/or their lack of enthusiasm are the cause of the Islanders woes is asinine. After all Isles fans have been through -- from Spano, to playoff less seasons, the 1-17-3 streak a few Novembers ago and more -- they should in no way be blamed for lack of enthusiasm, something that existed long before Barclays came along. And it's not like the move is exactly killing attendance, either; the Islanders had 14,000+ show up Sunday night with only a couple of Panthers fans in sight.

As for the players, these are professionals. Many of them have done it at NVMC for years under different, but still very shaky, arena worries (trying to condemn the arena, the Lighthouse Project failure, public vote failure). Did the 2009-10 Islanders go 23-14-4 at home because the Lighthouse Project got thrown away and the entire future of the franchise was up in the air? No, that uncertainly must have inspired them!

We saw earlier this season that yes, in fact, they do care greatly about the results of the games. Is playing at the Coliseum, which is pretty blatantly a terrible facility, no fun for them? Sure it's possible, although they'll never admit it. They might play better at a rink with good ice, and modern amenities, absolutely. But is the team bad because the fans show a lack of support or because there are a lot of opposition fans or because there are arena issues?

Well, I guess you might as well pin the last 20 seasons devoid of playoff series wins on the fans and arena issues too.

It's been no secret that for a long time, the Coliseum has been inundated with Rangers fans and those of other locals.

But did opposing fans only now just start showing up in droves or, before Brooklyn, did the Quebec Nordiques have a damned pep rally at the Coliseum during the 2010-11 season when the Islanders went 17-18-6 at home? I don't think I was dreaming when I witnessed that.

So please, everyone, stop making this small sample of a home record about the arena situation. The Islanders have had an arena situation of some kind for 20+ years. Now it's Brooklyn and asbestos, five years ago it was the Lighthouse Project, fifteen years back it was Milstein and Gluckstern trying to get the place condemned. Islanders fans have had a lot of reasons to be apathetic, upset, or both.

Also, please stop making this about opposing fans invading the arena, it's been that way throughout this half-decade long rebuild. It might be bit worse now, but certainly not significantly worse or bad in a way that would have pro athletes shaking in their boots. (Is Matt Martin really more worried about the 'Let's Go Islanders' chant getting drowned out than that goon attempting to punch him in the face?)

This is about the team on the ice and the coaching staff behind the bench and whether they are bad, average, or good. Because in the end that, and the teams they play against, are really what determines who wins and loses. Not some vague sadness the team gets from feeling unappreciated at home. Not from an arena situation hanging over their head. Or, if those things are bothering them, it's been dragging down the franchise for years.

It's not that different all of a sudden.

The Islanders play 11 of their final 16 games on the road including tonight's game in Washington. That's good news, if you believe their road record of 8-4-1 will continue. I have no qualms if you want to subscribe to that, and I hope it does continue because a playoff team is a lot more fun to cover. If the success doesn't continue and the team misses the playoffs, I guess we'll have to settle for the explanation that the road fans were too cordial, or the home fans too apathetic, or maybe it was voodoo, and no, it wasn't at all that the Islanders weren't a good enough team.

Tags: Islanders, Editorial Aside

Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) right wing Josh Bailey (12) and left wing Jason Chimera (25) react after scoring against Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) right wing Josh Bailey (12) and left wing Jason Chimera (25) react after scoring against Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

One of the laziest and corniest things you can do during Thanksgiving week is write a piece on everything you're thankful for. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Please indulge me, Islanders Country. Fact is, after all these years in this business on one side or the other, I've never taken the opportunity to say thank you. Perhaps I've become a bit sentimental.

Or maybe I'm feeling especially grateful. So here goes. If you give me this one, I'll do my best to write at least one Grinchy rant before the New Year.

Tags: John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders defensemen Adam Pelech chases the puck against Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner during he first period at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defensemen Adam Pelech chases the puck against Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner during he first period at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

Jaroslav Halak surrendered three goals in the first period as the New York Islanders lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Sunday at PNC Arena. >> Read more


First period:

  • 1:50 CAR Sebastian Aho (power play); Assists: Teuvo Teravainen, Justin Faulk
  • 3:40 CAR Teravainen; Assists: Aho, Noah Hanifin
  • 10:44 NYI Nick Leddy
  • 17:13 CAR Elias Lindholm; Assists: Phillip Di Giuseppe, Jeff Skinner

Second period:

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Even with a game in between, it figures that the Carolina Hurricanes haven't forgotten what happened the last time they played the New York Islanders.

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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

I know, I know….21 games is the 'official' quarter mark of the 82-game NHL season. Actually, 20.5 to be exact, but hey, let's keep it simple here, okay?

With another scratchpad not due until next Sunday and the Islanders just completing their 19th game last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they will reach that mark in between columns. The Islanders will face the Flyers in back-to-back games -- in Brooklyn on Wednesday and in Philadelphia on Friday. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Andy Graziano
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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

In what was a suspensful game in Tampa Bay, the Islanders managed to come away with another road win against a top team in the league. 

The Lightning sat atop the Atlantic Division at 15-2-2 before the Islanders came to town, but New York wasn't focused on that record. They played their game, and stole one from the Lightning at home. 

It was a test for head coach Doug Weight's team, and he thinks they came away passing it with flying colors. 

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Thomas Greiss
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Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

 Anders Lee scored two goals and the Islanders overcame a late rally by the Lightning to secure a 5-3 win on Saturday night. >> Box score

 

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

TAMPA, Fla. -- The red-light district will be on high alert Saturday when the New York Islanders head to Tampa to face the top-ranked Lightning at Amalie Arena.

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Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter: How fitting that, on a night when the Islanders chose to honor all former and current members of the military, even those who wear collars and run on four legs, veteran Johnny Boychuk -- one of the team's most visible supporters of the armed forces -- stood out once again.

The 33-year old defenseman from Edmonton, now in his ninth NHL season and fourth with the Islanders, was a bit of a late-bloomer, not breaking into the league in a full-time capacity until he was 26, playing 51 games with the Bruins.

Before the start of the 2014-15 season, then-Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli needed to dump some cash to help out an inflating salary cap situation. Enter Islanders GM Garth Snow, who acquired the veteran defenseman at a time when his team needed one in the worst way, for two second-round picks and a conditional third rounder...

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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)

First Period

  • 16:21 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Nick Leddy, Andrew Ladd
  • 16:57 NYI Cal Clutterbuck; Unassisted
  • 17:30 CAR Elias Lindholm; Assists: Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen
  • 19:31 NYI Nick Leddy; Assists: Anders Lee, Josh Bailey 

Second Period

  • 2:54 CAR Noah Hanifin; Assists: Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal
  • 11:19 CAR  Derek Ryan; Assists: Brett Pesce, Brook McGinn
  • 19:08 CAR Sebastian Aho; Assists: Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen

Third Period

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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)

NEW YORK -- The NHL season is not even a quarter complete, which should mean it's far too early to wonder about playoff implications of a particular game.

But all norms go out the window in the Metropolitan Division, which the Carolina Hurricanes and the host New York Islanders will both have postseason seeding at least somewhere in their minds when they meet Thursday night at Barclays Center.

The game Thursday will end a mini-break for the Islanders, who haven't played since Saturday, when they snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the host St. Louis Blues 5-2. The Hurricanes won for the third time in four games Monday, when they scored four unanswered goals in the third period of a 5-1 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars.

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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Thomas Greiss will be in goal on Thursday night for the Islanders against the Hurricanes, head coach Doug Weight said.

Josh Ho-Sang, whose recall was changed from an emergency basis to a regular recall, will be in along with Anthony Beauvillier, while Alan Quine is out.

Thomas Hickey and Ryan Pulock are in, while Dennis Seidenberg and Scott Mayfield are out.

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

The Islanders announced RW Josh Ho-Sang's recall has been changed from emergency to regular.

Ho-Sang returned to the Islanders from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Nov. 11, where he scored his first goal of the season against the Blues. 

However, Ho-Sang's availibility against the Hurricanes Thusday could be limited as he had a bad stomach bug at the beginning of the week, per Newsday's Arthur Staple. He was held out of practice on Monday and Tuesday, but was seen on the ice Wednesday. 

In seven games this season, Ho-Sang has tallied one goal and four assists. 

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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 (Billy Hurst)
(Billy Hurst)

The Islanders' victory in St. Louis on Saturday night showed why Doug Weight is the right coach for this team, and why his club will qualify for this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The win was the second time in the last few weeks that the Islanders rebounded well from flat performances. The first was on Oct. 28, when Weight's team blew out the Cup-finalist Predators in Nashville after a bad game in Minnesota two nights earlier. Beating the Blues the night after the Islanders stunk in Dallas showed something. As lost as they looked against the Stars, they found their game at the start in St. Louis.

That's not easy to do.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Islanders LW Nikolay Kulemin will be out six months after undergoing a successful surgery on an undisclosed upper-body injury. 

Kulemin left last Tuesday's contest against the Oilers, where the Islanders lost in overtime. 

The 31-year-old is in his fourth season with the Islanders since joining the team for the 2014-2015 season. While missing only one game over his first two seasons, he was out for 10 games last season. 

In 13 games this year, Kulemin has talllied one goal and two assists.

Tags: Nikolay Kulemin
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 (Billy Hurst)
(Billy Hurst)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

In the world of professional sports, there isn't a player that will tell you mental preparation isn't important. In fact, it's almost as important as having more skill than your opponent which leads to victories. Sometimes, the sheer will to win outlasts a more talented foe.

Tags: Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Nov 11, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates after scoring a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (not pictured) during the first period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports (Billy Hurst)
Nov 11, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates after scoring a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (not pictured) during the first period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports (Billy Hurst)

The Islanders scored three goals in the first period and held on to beat the Blues, 5-2, on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center. >> Box score

Tags: Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

ST. LOUIS -- The good news for the New York Islanders is that they won't have too long to think about getting blown out Friday night with another game set for Saturday night.

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New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)
New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)

The Islanders have recalled RW Josh Ho-Sang on an emergency basis for Saturday's game, according to Shannon Hogan of MSG

Ho-Sang has played in six games this season for the Islanders, recording four assists and four total points. 

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

The Islanders looked lost in their 5-0 shutout to the Dallas Stars on Friday night, and head coach Doug Weight called them out. 

Stars' goalie Ben Bishop faced only 14 shots throughout the three periods as the Stars dominated on every end of the floor. It wasn't the Islanders team Weight was used to seeing, and he made sure they knew that after the game. 

"Some heart would be nice to see," Weight told the MSG Network after the game, "some work ethic, maybe following a game plan and maybe some consistency as far as getting pucks in."

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

The Islanders were shut out in Dallas as the Stars cruised to a win, 5-0, on their home ice. >> Box score

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars host the New York Islanders at American Airlines Center on Friday evening, both teams will share a similar goal -- getting a bounce-back win.

The Islanders (8-5-2, 18 points) lost 2-1 in overtime to Edmonton on Tuesday at the Barclays Center. New York will finish the quick two-game road trip Saturday at St. Louis before playing again on Nov. 16 against Carolina.

New York coach Doug Weight said that other than not getting the full two points against one of his former clubs, the Oilers, he was pleased with the Islanders' effort in the overtime loss.

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Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Jaroslav Halak will be in net on Friday night as the Islanders face the Stars in Dallas, head coach Doug Weight said.

The team will go with the same defensemen as they did on Tuesday night.

Alan Quine will also be in the lineup.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Nikolay Kulemin
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhen GM Garth Snow decided to call his 'go-to' in Peter Chiarelli back in June, it was to finalize a lopsided trade that would send Ryan Strome to Edmonton for what was deemed to be an Oilers salary dump in Jordan Eberle.

The 27-year-old forward from Regina had been on the Islanders radar for quite some time and Snow pounced at the opportunity to land the scoring winger who had averaged 27 goals and 62 points in seven previous seasons playing in Alberta while carrying a cap hit of $6 million over the next two seasons.

Eberle then proceeded to marry long-time girlfriend Lauren Rodych before coming to Brooklyn in a ceremony that featured one last hurrah with former and current members of the organization he called home since he was 20-years old...

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Andy Graziano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

I wanted to love the Barclays Center when I went to my first Islanders game there two years ago. I grew up in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - twice, actually. The first time was as a child from Hicksville, with the sweetly-gruff security man Mr. Buonagura popping the door open for me and his son Paul on Saturday nights so we could take seats just before the press table in the last row of the old barn. The second time was for the first two decades of adulthood, where I learned a lot about life through some extraordinary times as an Islanders employee.

So when I walked into the Barc for my first game, I didn't want to be that guy who thought everything new was bad.

It didn't last long...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Calvin De Haan, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Chris Botta
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Josh Ho-Sang has been in the AHL for two weeks, and with a roster spot opening up on Wednesday, it begs the question: Is it time to bring him back?

Nikolay Kulemin, who sustained an upper body injury in Tuesday's overtime loss to the Oilers, was placed on injured reserve. Alan Quine (conditioning) was recalled, but he was already on the team's 23-man roster, which means a slot is still available. Ho-Sang was sent to to Bridgeport on October 25, where he has averaged a point per game (two goals, four assists in six contents) since his demotion. He posted four points, all assists, in his six games with the Isles.

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: There's a lot to unpack on Ho-Sang. At first blush, his demotion just seemed like another IsLOLanders moment of player development. But this article is an incredible look into the on-air issues that led to Ho-Sang's demotion, and what he needs to work on before he comes back...

Tags: Jason Chimera, Josh Ho-Sang, Nikolay Kulemin, Shane Prince
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders couldn't capitalize on their third period forecheck, and in turn, dropped the contest to the Oilers, 2-1, in overtime. 

It was a lopsided third period as the puck stayed in the Islanders offensive end. However, Oilers G Cam Talbot was stellar, saving 13 shots to cap off a 36-save night. He allowed the one goal from Jordan Eberle in the second period, but was lights out after. 

Mathew Barzal knew the Islanders should have cashed in during their late surge. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss
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Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney (50) fight for control of the puck in the second period of the game at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney (50) fight for control of the puck in the second period of the game at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have recalledAlan Quine from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and placed Nikolay Kulemin (upper body) on IR, retroactive to Nov. 7.

Quine has been down with the AHL affiliate working on a conditioning loan to get back to full strength. It was the final leg of rehabbing his upper body injury he suffered back in September. He played four games with the Sound Tigers where he notched one goal.

The 24-year-old played 61 games with the Islanders last season where he recorded 18 points (five goals, 13 assists). 

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Nov 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck in front of Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Strome (18) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck in front of Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Strome (18) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Conor McDavid scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Islanders on Tuesday at the Barclays Center. >> Box score

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders know all too well how playoff aspirations can be ruined by a poor start. They will look to keep reminding Edmonton of that Tuesday night when the skidding Oilers begin a pivotal four-game East Coast trip during an interconference clash at Barclays Center.

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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders at start of the game against Buffalo Sabres Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders at start of the game against Buffalo Sabres Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Despite the Islanders problems with Barclays Center, they have been enjoying a great record at the Brooklyn arena since the move in 2015. 

The Islanders, who are currently awaiting word to build a new arena at Belmont Park, are 52-23-13 at Barclays Center since their move. The organization has complained about its less than adequate location and ice conditions, but their record shows that they like being home. 

"The guys just seem comfortable. They play well there," head coach Doug Weight told Newsday's Steven Marcus. "They strange thing to me, even when we're not on our game -- I can't say it's the crowd or the atmosphere, whatever it is -- you just have a good chance to win. We've won more games maybe in that building that we feel like coming out of we didn't play that great. We just find ways to win in that building right now, so I don't want to talk too much about it. We have a good mojo there."

Tags: John Tavares
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Oct 6, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Oct 6, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

Almost a decade ago, Brendan Witt was the veteran in the corner, quietly enjoying a moment of Zen and a cup of locker room Joe while his younger teammates stretched and gabbed about the night before. When the former Islanders defender visited his old team after their game in Los Angeles last month, Witt grinned when he learned the contemplative veteran in the corner with the coffee was now Josh Bailey.

"Bails was such a great kid," Witt recalled of his teammate's rookie season yesterday in a phone conversation from California. "Quiet, reserved…just 18 years old. He had an eagerness to learn what it took to make it in the NHL. Billy Guerin took him under his wing and we all tried to do our best for Josh. It was a tough season, but people should understand that Bails always had the determination. He cared. Stayed after practice, lived in the weight room. Never stopped putting in the time, asking the right questions.

"He's a very good NHL player now. To see him get better every year and really take off lately is gratifying for any of us around back then."

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New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy celebrates his second goal during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy celebrates his second goal during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)

Nick Leddy scored two power-play goals, Mathew Barzal recorded five assists and the New York Islanders beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-4 on Sunday at Barclays Center. >> Box Score

Tags: Colorado Avalanche, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

NEW YORK -- A pair of teams looking to continue rewriting the narratives they endured last season will meet Sunday night, when the New York Islanders host the Colorado Avalanche at Barclays Center.

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Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

A relatively quiet week since we last met, with the Islanders playing only two games, a 6-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights and a tough 4-3 loss on the road in Washington.

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New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez)
New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Islanders fans have been desiring a 'true' first line for some time now. To be more specific, a true 'first-line winger' to play with captain John Tavares.

Last season, it wasn't quite good enough that Josh Bailey combined with Tavares and rapidly improving Anders Lee to forge a line that combined for 75 goals -- 31 percent of the team's overall production -- and 174 points. This year, through 13 games, it's even higher at 48 percent.

'He'll regress,' they said. 'He will come back down to earth and be the player he's always been offensively,' they added. 'He doesn't shoot enough' was screamed from the rooftops. And my personal favorite of all, 'How many of his assists are secondary assists, though?'

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Lars Eller's second goal of the night was the decisive one to help the Capitals beat the Islanders, 4-3, on Thursday at Capital One Arena. >> Box Score

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New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

WASHINGTON -- John Tavares and the New York Islanders roll into Washington Thursday night to face a Washington Capitals team still forging an identity during a season unlike their last two.

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New York Islanders head coach Al Arbour waves to fans as he leaves the ice with his wife Clarie after returning to the Islanders to coach his 1500th hockey game as Islanders head coach against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Ed Betz) (Ed Betz/AP)
New York Islanders head coach Al Arbour waves to fans as he leaves the ice with his wife Clarie after returning to the Islanders to coach his 1500th hockey game as Islanders head coach against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Ed Betz) (Ed Betz/AP)

Glasses probably attached, Al Arbour came into this world 85 years ago yesterday and remains a warm, stern and wonderful father figure in so many corners of Islanders Country. When Al walked into a room, you knew it. Few people in any walk of life have used their charisma, commanding presence, booming and sometimes soothing voice for more good.

The greatest coach in any sport ever? A few others tend to be in the forefront of the debate, but you can never go wrong by waving the Islanders' nineteen consecutive playoff series victories in your opponent's face. In any friendly arguments at the bar, I prefer to say, Al Arbour was just the greatest, man.

You've heard many of the tales of the Islanders' evolution under Al from 1973 through the four straight Stanley Cups. So let's just take it back a quarter-century to the other time he performed miracles, with the 1992-93 Islanders, for an example of how he pushed the right buttons.

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

As the Islanders await the status of their bid for a new arena, co-owner John Ledecky decided to upgrade their practice facility. 

Ledecky wants the Islanders to be an attractive franchise, like any other owner would want for their team. However, when players know your team is still in limbo with a new stadium, something must be done to compensate for it. That is why Ledecky poured $7 million into the Northwell Health Ice Center, the Islanders' practice facility in East Meadow, Long Island. 

The facility is now one of the best in the NHL with an on-site cyro-chamber and underwater treadmill for rehab assignments, and even a world-class chef for the players and coaches. Ledecky said this new upgrade shows exactly what the organization can do if they were granted to rights to Belmont. 

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Five years ago last week, Charles Wang announced that the Islanders would move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season. Although that 25-year lease agreement - erroneously reported to be a windfall of cash that would keep the Islanders flush for a generation - turned out to be toilet paper, it's a good time to consider Wang's legacy as Islanders owner.

The view from here is simple: If you have ever cared about the New York Islanders, then you should know that Wang is the person who kept them here - against all odds, against all reason, possibly at times to the detriment of his sanity. That's his legacy. That's why, for all the times over 16 years when Wang or his hockey team made you hang your head or bang it on the table, this is why he should be remembered fondly.

At the urging of his close friend, former senator Al D'Amato, Wang bought the Islanders in April 2000 to keep the Islanders in New York and -- hopefully someday in the following decade -- build a new arena for Long Island as the centerpiece of development of the Nassau HUB. (All these years later, I instinctively dry-heave whenever I hear that three-letter word)...

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New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates his goal against the Vegas Golden Knights with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates his goal against the Vegas Golden Knights with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods to beat the upstart Vegas Golden Knights 6-3 on Monday at Barclays Center. >> Read more

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 (Christopher Hanewinckel)
(Christopher Hanewinckel)

Islanders C John Tavares was named the NHL's First Star of the Week after performances that included two hat tricks. 

Tavares notched his first hat trick of the week against the Coyotes last Tuesday in a 5-3 victory. He didn't total a point against the Wild on Thursday, but he would rebound with another hat trick against the Predators on Saturday in a 6-2 win. 

It was the 27-year-old's seventh and eighth career hat tricks while posting an NHL-best six goals for the week. He also tallied an assists for seven total points. 

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

The Vegas Golden Knights are threatening to rewrite the template for successful expansion franchises authored four decades ago by the New York Islanders.

The most surprising story in hockey visits the East Coast for the first time Monday, when the surging Golden Knights begin a six-game road trip by visiting the Islanders at Barclays Center. >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

I know... I know. Joking about power being restored when there is a possibility for some of us to lose it this evening with a powerful nor'Easter approaching is a lame attempt at being clever. Just know, I'm terrible at titles, always have been and sometimes this is all you're going to get, unfortunately. Stay safe people.

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Ho-Sang, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders players celebrate after scoring during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders players celebrate after scoring during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

After the Nashville Predators tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, the Islanders scored five unanswered goals and sailed to a 6-2 win on Saturday at the Bridgestone Arena. >> Read more

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New York Islanders celebrate a goal by forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders celebrate a goal by forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)

In their last home game before their yearly CMA road trip, the Nashville Predators will try to defeat fatigue and the New York Islanders Saturday night in Bridgestone Arena.

Less than 24 hours after getting 43 saves from Pekka Rinne in a 2-1 victory at Chicago, Nashville (5-3-2) takes on a New York team that practiced in Nashville Friday after suffering a 6-4 defeat Thursday night in Minnesota.

Tags: Nashville Predators
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 (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Defensemen Ryan Pulock and Dennis Seidenberg will be back in the lineup and Scott Mayfield and Thomas Hickey will sit as the Islanders take on the Predators on Saturday, head coach Doug Weight told reporters. 

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Pulock
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Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)
Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)

The Minnesota Wild scored a season-high six goals in a 6-4 win over the Islanders on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. >> Read more

Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy
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Oct 6, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (18) skates against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Oct 6, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (18) skates against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- As they embark on a two-game road trip, the New York Islanders are getting used to new skaters playing together.

In the midst of a six-game homestand, the injury-riddled Minnesota Wild are doing the same thing.

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