Head coach Barry Trotz of the Islanders talks with his team...

Head coach Barry Trotz of the Islanders talks with his team during practice at UBS Arena on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The only sure thing about the Islanders right now is that things won’t be staying the same.

After a gut-churning loss to the Predators in the final seconds of regulation on Thursday and an awful run in which they lost 11 games in a row before splitting the last two games, Barry Trotz said fans can expect to see lineup changes "for sure" when the Islanders play the Devils at UBS Arena on Saturday. The team still is winless in its $1.1 billion new home (0-5-2).

Some of those changes may be organic, as Trotz anticipated the potential return of Casey Cizikas, who just cleared COVID-19 protocol, and Brock Nelson, who’s been out since Nov. 21 with a lower-body injury. "There’s a good chance you’ll see at least one of them return," Trotz said, though final evaluations will be made Saturday morning.

There are a few other possibilities. Trotz spoke highly of Kieffer Bellows, who could see more minutes. Oliver Wahlstrom, who’s also had limited ice time, has recorded three points in the last two games. Ross Johnston also has impressed, Trotz said, and that likely will lead to playing time even after Cizikas returns.

"He’s making it a lot easier for me to keep him in for sure," Trotz said of Johnston. "Ross has played very well, and Ross will probably continue to stay in as he plays well. And you know, Ross might be in a situation where I do put the identity line back together and Ross moves up in the lineup, because he’s done a really good job."

Matt Martin potentially could return to the lineup, though his surgically repaired ankle does get aggravated.

Trotz also could scratch Anthony Beauvillier, whom he benched in the second period Thursday. He said after the game that the winger has to "raise his game."

"We try to hold them accountable and you want them, ideally, to hold themselves accountable," Trotz said after practice Friday. "Last night, there weren’t a lot of mistakes, but when we do make mistakes, they’ve been ending up in the back of our net . . . They’re untimely, and they find the back of the net one way or the other."

He added that though there might be some pressing going on, "it’s not an excuse. We’ve got to be professional about it. Man up and let’s just win."

But beyond whatever psychological factors might be at play, there are the tangible things that play out on the ice every few nights — a disjointed defense, sloppy puck-handling and small miscues that turn into big problems. Partially, they’ve struggled because of turnovers, Trotz said. But perhaps a bigger issue is that when individual mistakes do happen, the team as a whole hasn’t been able to right the wrong.

"You’re going to have individual mistakes during a game," he said. "They’re just a part of ice hockey. It’s not a clean sport where everything is perfect. But when you do make a mistake, it’s how can you clean it up? Or can you get a timely save or can you get — there are so many factors, but for me, it’s a little bit of puck management stuff, game management stuff that’s unforced . . . It’s decisions by one person a lot of times, and then we haven’t been able to clean it up like we have in the past."

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