SUNRISE, Fla. — For Ryan Strome, the playoffs are both a great opportunity and a completely fresh start. The Islanders regular season was one he would like to forget, one that failed to show the development the team had sought for him, one that sent him to the minors for a time. But he turned the page resoundingly Thursday night with a goal and an assist in the 5-4 win.
“It’s all about the team now,” said Strome, who scored the Islanders’ fifth goal in Game 1. “It might be a cliché but everyone has the same goal and for some guys, no matter how your season went, you’ve got to put that aside, put your ego aside. The last little while, once guys have found their roles and identities, you just kind of roll with it. No matter how many minutes you’re playing I think everyone is kind of buying in. If we do that, I think we can really make some noise here.”
Strome, the fifth overall draft pick in 2011, played in 71 games during the regular season, scoring eight goals with 20 assists.
He encapsulated his season this way: “A little frustrating, getting sent down, got on a pretty good run, then kind of lost 25 games. Just kind of went dry. At the end of the day, I’ve got to be better. We still had 100 points, we’re still here. I still have a chance to contribute and help the team out.
“There’s a lot of support,” he said Friday morning. “We’ve got so many veteran guys who are always there. I think the great thing about our team is everyone comes to the rink every day and everyone is happy. Everyone’s in a good mood. There’s no selfishness. If you’re having a tough day and you’re upset at yourself, I think you can just look around and see how many guys care and they’re there for you. We’re all here for the same goal.”