EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Barry Trotz cautioned he has been patient with some Islanders struggling to produce. But he also seemed to indicate his patience had limits.
That was after the Islanders’ sub-par effort in Monday night’s 3-0 loss to the Ducks. The coach did not make wholesale changes at Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota Sports Performance Center but he did reveal he has spoken privately to top-line wings Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, both who fall into the struggling category.
The Islanders conclude a three-game California swing on Wednesday night against the Kings after having their franchise record streak of at least one point in 17 games (15-0-2) snapped. The trip opened with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Sharks.
“The puck doesn’t go in, you get frustrated, especially when you’re getting chances,” said Eberle, who has yet to score his first goal this season. “The biggest thing is you’ve just got to continue to try and do that. Eventually it’s going to go in.”
Eberle skated on a line centered by Leo Komarov with Michael Dal Colle at practice while Josh Bailey was in Eberle’s usual spot on Mathew Barzal’s top line with Lee.
Eberle has five assists in 12 games, having missed a nine-game stretch from Oct. 14-Nov. 7 with an ankle injury. Lee has five goals and five assists in 22 games but has yet to notch a power-play point, usually one of his strengths.
“I know Leesy’s been at the net every night,” Trotz said. “There will be a shot and a rebound and it’s either getting caught in somebody’s skate or just out of his reach. So, he’s having a little bit of tough luck. I talked to him about staying with it because it turns on you. Just when you think it’s never, ever going to turn on you and you’re cursed, it turns on you and you score two or three goals and everything’s fine.”
The message to Eberle was slightly different, with more Xs and Os.
“Ebs came back from a long stint of being injured and he’s had some quality chances,” Trotz said. “I think it’s just as much anything a little bit of rust with those hands. He usually can roof some pucks. I just talked to him today to continue to try to get yourself inside the dots, give him the best memories of when he came back and got hot last year. He was always inside the dots so he can use those quick hands.”
Notes & Quotes: Nick Leddy was held out of practice and Trotz said the defenseman would be a game-time decision against the Kings. “I don’t have a clear picture on it,” Trotz said. “It’s just an old injury that keeps flaring up on him.” Leddy has missed four games because of a nagging lower-body issue, including a three-game absence from Nov. 2-7. If Leddy can’t play, rookie Noah Dobson will dress for his seventh NHL game and first since Nov. 7, likely paired with Johnny Boychuk.