The Islanders can only look forward.
Hopefully to getting some more goal production soon.
“Just look forward. We can’t do anything about this trip,” coach Barry Trotz said after the Islanders concluded an 0-2-1 California swing with a 4-1 loss to the Kings on Wednesday night.
“We were disappointed,” Trotz added. “You come out here and at least you want to be .500. We have one point out of a possible six. That’s a little disappointing. We only scored two goals. Everything from our lines, they sort of dried up a little bit.”
The Islanders did not practice on Thanksgiving after flying home overnight. They next face Columbus on Saturday night at Barclays Center — their last scheduled game in Brooklyn until Jan. 11 — after the Blue Jackets host the Penguins on Friday night. The Blue Jackets are on a 1-3-2 road skid and the Islanders won the first of four meetings with their Metropolitan Division rival, 3-2, in overtime at Columbus on Oct. 19.
The Islanders’ three-game skid is their longest of the season and they have lost two straight in regulation for only the second time. Their listless 3-0 loss to the Ducks on Monday night snapped a franchise-record 17-game point streak (15-0-2) after the Islanders opened the road trip with a solid effort in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Sharks.
In addition to their recent offensive struggles, the Islanders have allowed at least three goals in seven of their last nine games.
“It’s part of an 82-game schedule,” Trotz said. “You’re going to go through some dry stretches where it’s not going to come easy for players individually or collectively. Right now, it’s not coming easy for us. Teams are bearing down on us. We’re not sneaking up on anybody. It’s a dry patch and you have to work through it as a group and stay positive.”
Still, a coach who says his lines have “dried up a little bit” is more than likely to be proactive in trying to find some new combinations.
Trotz, still trying to figure out where to best fit Josh Bailey among his top three lines, had him centering the third line to start Wednesday’s game after he practiced on top-line center Mathew Barzal’s right wing along with Anders Lee on Tuesday.
Trotz also tried reuniting last season’s top line of Brock Nelson between Lee and right wing Jordan Eberle in the second period against the Kings among his blended line combinations. Michael Dal Colle all but fell out of the rotation in the third period, taking one 58-second shift that ended with 27 seconds remaining in regulation, long after the game had been decided.
The Islanders went 0-for-3 on the power play with five of their 25 shots, leaving them 0-for-10 on the man advantage during the trip.
“I don’t know if we got as many chances as we did early,” Trotz said. “Right now, in games when goals aren’t coming really easy, we’ve got to put the puck in play a little more, be it five-on-five or on the power play. You have to junk one in if you have to.”
That has to be the plan moving forward.