DALLAS - The biggest plus for John Tavares and the Islanders already on the squad before Monday's trade deadline may not have been the two additions Garth Snow made.
It was that the general manager subtracted only one player, backup goaltender Chad Johnson, from the group that essentially has been together since training camp.
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"We've had a good season up to this point and it's no secret that we've had some good chemistry," Tavares said. "I don't think there's any reason to shake things up. We've had a lot of guys who have contributed to where we've gotten. Now that it's behind us, it's great to go forward with this group and try to accomplish the ultimate goal."
That trek began Tuesday night here against the Stars, kicking off a four-game road trip with 18 games left and the Islanders in the thick of the Metropolitan Division title race. Even though their depth has been tested with injuries to Kyle Okposo, Casey Cizikas and Mikhail Grabovski -- and now, strangely, Tyler Kennedy, who arrived via trade Monday and was scratched Tuesday with an upper-body injury -- the Islanders have hung together, going 10-7-1 since the All-Star break while missing a few key pieces.
But even the impetus to add at the deadline rather than subtract was a new feeling for most of these Islanders. In the hours leading up to last season's March deadline, Snow was trying in vain to find a first-round pick for Thomas Vanek. He settled for a second-rounder and prospect Sebastian Collberg, capping a season in which Snow dealt away mainstays Matt Moulson and Andrew MacDonald.
Additions for this season began in May with Snow's acquisition of Jaroslav Halak, followed by the October trades for Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Those were big moves. Monday's smaller moves were still welcome in the room.
"I don't think we were headliners in any way, but we added some very effective players who have proven themselves in this league," Tavares said. "We made the trades for Johnny and Leds before the season started. Those were major moves done earlier than this time of year. They really solidified us then and now we've added a couple more pieces that can help make a difference for us."
"We haven't done that in a while here," Jack Capuano said of making deadline acquisitions rather than a sell-off. "And we'll get some bodies back in two to three weeks; then we'll have some tough decisions to make."
Okposo and Cizikas skated Monday for the first time in their injury recoveries. If they stay on schedule with their on-ice work, both could be ready to join the full team practice when the Islanders return home next week.
Notes & quotes: Matt Martin was ejected from Tuesday night's game just 1:48 in for a knee-on-knee hit to the Stars' Trevor Daley, who did not return . . . With Kennedy sidelined, Kael Mouillierat remained in the lineup. Now that the trade deadline has passed, rosters are expanded and Mouillierat and Colin McDonald are traditional recalls rather than emergency call-ups.