The first game of the road trip went well for Oliver Wahlstrom, Mathew Barzal and the Islanders.
The hope is any momentum gained from Monday’s 4-2 win in Ottawa can carry through the next three games of this swing.
“Two points on a skilled team,” said Wahlstrom, who snapped an eight-game goal drought on a power-play goal with a secondary assist from Barzal. “We have a big road trip ahead of us that we’re all excited about.”
The Islanders (11-6-0) carry a two-game winning streak and a 9-2-0 spurt into Thursday night’s match in Nashville. The longest road trip of the season to date also includes stops in Dallas and Toronto.
The Islanders flew home after Monday’s win and, after an off day, will practice on Wednesday before heading back on the road.
“Four tough games on the road,” Zach Parise said. “It’s good to get off on the right foot and win the first one.”
The Islanders were 2-for-3 on the power play against the Senators but need Barzal and Wahlstrom to click more at even strength.
Barzal, with two assists Monday, has 18 in 17 games. He is the first Islander with that many through 17 games since Mike Bossy, Brent Sutter, Pat LaFontaine and John Tonelli in 1984-85.
But Wahlstrom’s goal marked just his second — to go along with three assists — since he was elevated to Barzal’s top trio.
Wahlstrom has started 10 of the last 11 games on Barzal’s line and coach Lane Lambert moved him back to Barzal’s right wing midway through the only game they didn’t start together.
But Lambert has used Parise (most recently), Josh Bailey and Anders Lee as Barzal’s left wing during that stretch.
“I don’t think it’s too much of an adjustment,” Wahlstrom said. “Whoever comes in is a really good player. It’s just playing my game, helping Barzy out and getting the puck to him. Good wall plays. If it’s Bails, Zach, whoever, just play my game to help them have good games as well.”
Barzal’s point-per-game production has come strictly through assists. He's still looking for his first goal of the season after taking two shots against the Senators.
Yet there’s no denying how effective he’s been with his skating and playmaking in creating time and space for his teammates and setting them up.
“I could have had another one in the third period but I kind of fanned on it when I had an empty net,” Wahlstrom said. “That’s the type of player he is. You’ve just got to get open and find those areas.”
Notes & quotes: OteThe Islanders placed forward Nikita Soshnikov on waivers. Soshnikov, who has played three games without a point, can be reassigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport if he clears on Wednesday . . . The Senators’ Mathieu Joseph was fined the maximum $5,000 by the NHL Player Safety Department for high-sticking defenseman Sebastian Aho in the third period.