Riding the wave of an emotional 4-3 shootout win over their cross-town rivals the New York Rangers on Friday night, the Islanders head out on an eight-day four-game road trip that kicks-off in Ottawa Sunday afternoon. Every opponent that the Isles will face on the trip – Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Boston Bruins - is in playoff contention.
|PA Parenteau and Mark Streit skating against the Senators at Scotiabank Place on Feb. 3, 2012 when the Islanders won 2-1 in overtime. l |
Rising to the challenge of a tough road trip at this point in the season will be a matter of finding consistency and taking each game as it comes. Saturday afternoon the Islanders were six-points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference currently held by the Florida Panthers.
“We had a good meeting this morning and we are well aware of exactly where we are and what ground we have to make up,” Capuano said. “What we have to do is just go about our business and focus on one game at a time. We can’t look at the trip and the opponents, we’re just focusing on Ottawa right now. Every game, every shift.”
The Islanders have had road success against three of the next four opponents. The last time out at Scotiabank Place, the Verizon Center and the Wells Fargo Center, the Islanders have recorded wins. That paired with Friday’s win can provide a lot of confidence that the team needs to play their game night in and night out.
“We have a good feeling and a lot of confidence,” Mark Streit
said. “We had a rough beginning of the week with those two losses. It was great and really important to bounce back. Winning against the Rangers was even sweeter for us because it’s a huge rivalry for us. I think this is the biggest road trip of the year with a lot of key games. We have to do it now, every game.”
Talking about each game as must-win is not a new sentiment in the locker room, and Streit says it’s been that way for the last few weeks.
“Everybody realizes what’s at stake here the next eight days, and then we return to play New Jersey,” Streit said. “These games are crucial. Everybody in the room realizes how we need to play in order to be successful. We just have to keep it going and play our game.” Notebook:
The Islanders recalled David Ullstrom
and placed Brian Rolston on waivers Saturday afternoon.
“I haven’t had the chance to talk to Brian,” Capuano said. “He’s had a tremendous career and I respect him a great deal. He’s show tremendous leadership for us. I know he wasn’t where he wanted to be statistically but at the same time as a coach, you can’t lose sight of the career that he’s had and what he’s helped us through this year.”
On Ullstrom, Capuano said: “He’s been here before. He’s gives us some energy, good size, plays the body well and tracks the puck hard. He’s had a pretty good offensive year in Bridgeport, and when he was here he played well so he will get another opportunity.”