LOS ANGELES — Barry Trotz cited his not knowing the exact statistics as proof he’s not overly concerned the Islanders have given up more goals lately. But, yes, the coach has noticed the number has gone up, if slightly.
“More than slightly for me,” Trotz said. “Over zero is up.”
The Islanders have allowed three or more goals seven times in nine games after Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Kings at Staples Center. This follows a 10-game stretch in which they allowed more than three goals just once.
Overall, the Islanders were still leading the NHL with 54 goals against through their first 22 games. Last season, when the Islanders allowed a league-low 196 goals, they allowed 63 through their first 22 games and had given up three or more goals 12 times.
“In terms of chances, they haven’t gone up from last year,” Trotz said. “Probably the skill level and the offensive mindset around the league has just gotten better. I don’t think we’re too far off from where we were last year at the 20-game mark. We finished so strongly last year it just feels like we’ve given up more. It’s not a big deal to me right now because I don’t know those numbers.”
Forwards Otto Koivula and Ross Johnston were the healthy scratches…Forward Tom Kuhnhackl (injured reserve/lower body) missed his 13th game and while he’s been skating on his own, Trotz was unsure whether he’d be able to rejoin the Islanders for practice when the team returned East. “I know he’s made strides,” Trotz said. “I don’t know if he’s at that point where he’ll join us when we get back.” Trotz said he was sure Kuhnhackl would not be available for Saturday night’s game against the Blue Jackets at Barclays Center.