TAMPA, Fla. — The Islanders are no longer collecting points on the most consistent basis.
But they don’t believe it’s because they are no longer playing well consistently.
“Just keep playing hard,” right wing Josh Bailey said. “I don’t feel like we’re on a skid. I feel like we’ve done some good things. It’s just the way things go sometimes.”
The Islanders continue a three-game road trip Monday night against the Lightning at Amalie Arena. They were off Sunday after a trip-opening 3-1 loss at Dallas on Saturday night as the Stars went 2-for-2 on the power play.
The Islanders have lost four of seven since a 2-1 overtime loss at San Jose on Nov. 23 extended their franchise-record point streak to 15-0-2. They beat the Lightning, 5-2, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 1 as part of a 10-game winning streak that started that run of at least one point in 17 straight games.
The third-place Flyers again have crept within one point of the second-place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.
“We strive to win every game,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “It’s frustrating when you don’t. You’ve got to take the good things and learn from what we can fix and be ready to go in Tampa.”
The Islanders have been giving up more chances of late, and the Stars were particularly aggressive getting to the net. Opponents have averaged 35.6 shots in the Islanders’ last five games, though goalies Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov — who is expected to start Monday — have given up only 10 goals in that span. That’s how many goals the Islanders have in their last five games.
“We’ve just got to keep playing well,” defenseman Devon Toews said. “This road trip, we’re playing three really good teams. So we’ve just got to go into Tampa and win that one.”
The Islanders conclude the trip against the Panthers on Thursday night, a team they beat, 3-2, in a shootout at the Coliseum on Oct. 12 and 2-1 at Barclays Center on Nov. 9.
“The last two games, we’ve gotten back to a little more of our style,” coach Barry Trotz said, including Thursday’s 3-2 overtime win over Vegas at the Coliseum. “I’ve gotten back to four lines and spread the wealth. I like our game. If we continue with the type of game we’ve had the last couple, we’ll win our share. We’ve just got to understand the process. We’re not going to win every game.”
Saturday’s loss dropped the Islanders to 7-5-1 on the road, and their previous road trip included two subpar performances. They won, 4-1, at Detroit on Dec. 2, but the Red Wings went 1-for-6 on the power play. The Isles were nearly non-competitive in a 4-2 loss at Montreal the next night.
Notes & quotes: The Islanders had no update on defenseman Nick Leddy, who hobbled to the bench with 90 seconds left Saturday and seemed unable to put weight on his left skate. If he can’t play, rookie Noah Dobson is expected to dress for the first time in six games.
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