The wins keep piling up for the New York Islanders, who take continue their franchise-best run on the West Coast.
As they embark on a three-game road trip through California, beginning with Saturday’s clash against the San Jose Sharks, the Islanders are riding a five-game winning streak and on a 15-0-1 run.
Their streak of collecting points in 16 consecutive games is a franchise record.
“Looking back, you’ll remember it forever,” Brock Nelson told reporters after scoring twice in his team’s 4-3 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. “It just means we have a special group of guys who believe in each other, who go out there and work every day. It’s not always pretty, but right now we have a lot of belief and confidence in everybody and are finding ways to win.”
The Islanders, who swept a home-and-home series with the Penguins, have won their last three games in extra time. Their last regulation-time defeat was Oct. 11.
The list of red-hot players is nearly as impressive as the team’s record to start the season (16-3-1). Both Nelson and Derick Brassard have nine points in five-game streaks, while Anthony Beauvillier has scored six goals in a four-game spree and Mathew Barzal has collected 19 points during 16-game streak.
The Islanders are doing what they can to relish the good times, but resisting the urge to put too much stock in what’s happening.
“Enjoy it, you never know when it’s going to stop,” Beauvillier said. “I went 10 games without scoring and now it keeps going into the back of the net. I’m going to take advantage of it and enjoy the bounces.”
The Sharks are collecting their share of victories these days, too, having won seven of eight games. They beat the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime on Thursday, a rebound after falling to the Edmonton Oilers a couple of nights earlier.
“We wanted to be better,” said Logan Couture, who netted the overtime winner against Vegas and has collected 13 points in the last seven games. “We didn’t have a good effort (against Edmonton). We weren’t hard enough. We weren’t ourselves. Tonight we played a little bit more like our game.”
San Jose did pay a price in the Vegas clash, forced to finish without forward Melker Karlsson and defenseman Radim Simek after both injured early in the third period.
“It was a great character win,” goalie Aaron Dell said. “I think we really showed that it doesn’t matter who’s in and who’s out, that we can get the job done.”
Karlsson (upper body) won’t play against the Islanders, while Simek and forward Tomas Hertl are both listed as day-to-day. Simek missed the first 15 games due to surgery on his right knee — the same one he injured on Thursday. Hertl missed the last game, but has resumed skating.
Coming up with a victory against the Golden Knights gives the Sharks a template for what’s necessary to keep winning.
“We had to work a lot harder than we did last game. We weren’t going to out-skill them,” Couture explained. “With their lineup compared to ours, they got a little more skill up front, but I thought we outworked them for periods in the game and defended pretty hard.”
–Field Level Media