Head coach Barry Trotz of the Islanders looks on from...

Head coach Barry Trotz of the Islanders looks on from the bench during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings at UBS Arena on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

BUFFALO — With the trade deadline five weeks away on March 21, the Islanders are struggling. But Barry Trotz still has faith in his current group.

With a caveat.

"I believe in this roster in a sense that if everybody played up to our potential, our ceiling, we could put a bunch of games together and be a team that’s hard to play against," Trotz said after Monday’s practice at KeyBank Center.

The Islanders (17-19-6), 17 points out of a playoff spot, will conclude a four-game road trip against the Sabres on Tuesday night. They ended the Western Canada portion of the trek with back-to-back losses in Edmonton and Calgary that highlighted a main difference between this season and the previous two, when the Islanders reached the NHL semifinals.

The Islanders have been outscored 44-35 in the final period and no longer look as comfortable in uncomfortable situations, which Trotz used to say was a strength.

"I wouldn’t disagree with you," Trotz said. "Whatever reason, we’ve reverted a little bit in being as comfortable in those really tight games. We’ve trailed so much. Usually, we’ve been up a goal or even and we’ve been comfortable in those games. We’ve been chasing it more this year."

Indeed, the Islanders have allowed the first goal in eight of their last nine games, losing six of those eight.

And whereas the Islanders were 14-6-7 in one-goal games last season, they are 4-5-6 this season.

Further, the Islanders are 1-10-1 when they’ve entered the third period trailing by one goal. They are 6-2-0 when taking a one-goal lead into the final period but just 1-1-4 when they’ve started the third period in a tie.

"We seem to hit a point where we get impatient and try to press," Trotz said. "It doesn’t work for us. Usually, the other team takes advantage and counters on us."

The Islanders gave up the first goal to both the Oilers and the Flames and entered the third period trailing by one goal in each game.

"It’s been a roller coaster," Anthony Beauvillier said. "Lots of adversity for us. But it’s not a bad thing. We’re going to get back on track. We’re going to win some games. We want to focus on the way we play for a full 60 minutes. We’ve got better in us and everybody knows that."

Notes & quotes: Trotz put Beauvillier back on Brock Nelson’s second line with Josh Bailey after he spent three games on Casey Cizikas’ fourth line. Ross Johnston skated with Cizikas and Matt Martin as Kyle Palmieri likely will remain a healthy scratch for a third straight game . . . Goalie Cory Schneider was recalled from Bridgeport on an emergency basis as Semyon Varlamov remains quarantined in Calgary in COVID-19 protocol. Schneider is 5-9-2 with a 3.08 GAA and .906 save percentage for Bridgeport. It remains unclear how long Varlamov will be absent. "He was tested yesterday again," Trotz said. "That window is all based on coming up with a negative test."

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