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Islanders a focused group with a chance to make franchise history

Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates with Anthony Beauvillier (18),

Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates with Anthony Beauvillier (18), Derick Brassard (10) and Brock Nelson (29) after a goal by Barza against the Flyers on Nov. 16, 2019, in Philadelphia.  Credit: AP/Matt Slocum

The date was Feb. 21, 1982, and the Islanders were skating inside “The Igloo,” aka the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. They were on their way to claiming the third of their four straight Stanley Cups, but they lost this game to the Penguins, 4-3, bringing a franchise-record 15-game winning streak to a screeching halt.

That’s also the franchise record for consecutive games with at least one point. Now the Islanders have a chance to tie it nearly 38 years later. They’re 13-0-1 in their last 14 games and can match the mark Tuesday night against the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

“I had no idea,” Mathew Barzal said after Monday’s practice in East Meadow. “I don’t think this group is really looking at that. It’s pretty business as usual on this streak. It hasn’t really fazed us. We haven’t really been even talking about it . . . 

“So, I mean, it would be a cool thing to maybe accomplish. But, again, we’re just worried about the next game, and hopefully we can get some points.”

Besides the effort, disciplined play and many contributors, a big reason why they have this point streak has indeed been the fact they haven’t gotten wrapped up in it.

Streak? What streak?

“I just think with anything, we just sort of go game by game,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We don’t talk about any records or anything like that. To me, the league is so good. If you don’t think about just your opponent right in front of you, you’re not going to have success. Or you’re going to have varied degrees of success.

“I just think we’ve been really good at just focusing at the task at hand. And the task at hand is Pittsburgh and nothing past that really.”

Pittsburgh ended the Islanders' 10-game winning streak Nov. 7, edging them 4-3 in OT at Barclays Center after the Islanders took a 3-0 lead into the third period. They’ve won three straight since.

“We’ve never really thought about what we’re doing,” Casey Cizikas said. “We’re just playing hockey, and that’s kind of the best way to do it.”  

The Islanders saved the point streak Saturday night in Philadelphia, climbing out of a 3-0 hole in the third to win 4-3 in a shootout.

“It’s not about this streak,” said Anthony Beauvillier, who has scored twice in each of the last two games. “It’s about playing the right way and getting better every day.”

Still, he allowed that 14 straight games with a point is “pretty impressive.”

“We’ve faced some really good teams,” Beauvillier said. “Obviously, it’s really fun winning, so we want to keep that going.”

Notes & quotes: Cizikas will be playing in his 500th NHL game, all with the Islanders. “It means a lot to me personally,” the center said . . . Left wing Matt Martin (lower body) was cleared for contact in practice for the first time since getting injured Oct. 25. Trotz said he won’t play Tuesday night, but added, “I think past that, then he’s probably a viable option.”

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