CALGARY, Alberta - Ryan Strome and Anders Lee came up from Bridgeport together on Feb. 25. They're rooming together on this Canadian road trip. And their on-ice fortunes have seemed to rise and fall together in the five games since they arrived.
Lee, who had a goal and assist in his two-game sniff of NHL life at the end of last season after he turned pro out of Notre Dame, has continued to find the net. He scored his fourth goal in five games Thursday in Edmonton, and he's at seven points (5-2-7) in seven career games, a neat little pace.
Strome has looked considerably more comfortable in the offensive zone since his second Islanders stint began. He had three points in the previous five games heading into Friday night against the Flames after scoring four points in his first 15 games.
But the NHL can be a cruel place for rookies. "Offense is pretty natural for almost anybody who's played this game," Lee said. "You roam around, cycle, support one another, look for openings. Defense is where you have to learn technique, structure, systems. Guys jump behind you all the time at this level."
Lee and Strome were on the ice during a rough shift that led to an Oilers power play in the third, which led to a power-play goal that started the Isles' collapse to a 3-2 overtime loss. Lee and Strome were on the ice when Philip Larsen tied the game with 3:07 to go, as well.
"If you look at the second goal, Travis [Hamonic] tries to get the puck out and a couple of our guys are up the ice," coach Jack Capuano said. "There's three minutes left and we're up a goal. You can't be going out there looking to cheat to do something."
"Ryan and Anders have played extremely well for us. We have to keep showing video, keep teaching about the little things. These are guys who are going to help us for a long time."