The Islanders are essentially a quarter of the way through their schedule. What type of season they ultimately will have is still very much to be determined.
“I think we’ve got ourselves back into a decent spot,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “I think we can be a little more consistent. But we faced a little adversity for a little while. Sometimes you can learn a little bit in those stretches. Now we’ve just got to move forward.
“What has happened the first 20 games has happened and we’ve just got to keep worrying about winning that next game.”
The defense-depleted Islanders (8-6-6) got a much-needed day of rest on Sunday after Saturday’s 1-0, four-round shootout loss to the Flyers ended a stretch of three games in four days, which came after a four-game western trip. Twenty games is basically the quarter pole of the NHL’s 82-game season.
They next open a challenging three-game road trip Tuesday against the Devils before facing the Hurricanes and Panthers.
They will have to figure out how to win without top-pair defenseman Adam Pelech (upper body), placed on long-term injured reserve Saturday after suffering an apparent left wrist injury in Friday night’s 5-3 win in Ottawa. The earliest he can return is Dec. 19. Defenseman Sebastian Aho (upper body) also was injured against the Senators, though his absence is expected to be shorter.
Defenseman Mike Reilly, claimed off waivers from the Panthers on Saturday, will join the team for this trip.
The Islanders are on a 3-0-3 spurt, leaving them one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, and have rebounded from an 0-4-3 skid from Nov. 4-16.
“Everyone is going to look at that seven-game losing streak,” Kyle Palmieri said. “We did some good things. Played some good hockey and maybe deserved some better results along that stretch. Overall, we’ve been in every game. You can look at giving up the leads. We know how to win these tight ones.
“We want to keep getting better and keep working toward being consistent.”
The Islanders’ power play is ranked a respectable 11th in the NHL at 22.2% (12-for-54). The penalty kill is 31st at 70.3% (45-for-64), including a brutal 5-for-13 stretch during the first three games of the western trip. They have been outscored 25-13 in the third period.
Said defenseman Noah Dobson: “I feel like our game is trending in the right direction.”
Notes & quotes: The Islanders acquired Tyce Thompson from the Devils for Arnaud Durandeau in a swap of minor-league forwards. Thompson, 24, has five assists in 15 games this season for the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Utica and has one assist in 11 career NHL games. He is the son of former Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson and the brother of Sabres star Tage Thompson. He was born in Oyster Bay and played youth hockey on Long Island.
Durandeau, 24, has one goal and three assists in 12 games for Bridgeport and went without a point in four career NHL games.