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Road-weary Islanders looking forward to return to Coliseum

Cal Clutterbuck #15 of the Islanders falls to

Cal Clutterbuck #15 of the Islanders falls to the ice trying to get around the sticks of Dylan McIlrath #20 and Adam Erne #73 of the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Credit: Getty Images/Gregory Shamus

The Islanders last played at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 13. Since then, they have won in regulation just twice in nine games.

It’s been far from their most consistent stretch under coach Barry Trotz.

They face Vegas on Thursday night at the Coliseum, only their third home date in a stretch of 13 games from Nov. 16 to next Thursday.

“It’s nice to get home,” defenseman Scott Mayfield said. “It’ll be nice to play at the Coliseum again. We’ve just got to stay with the process. We had a lot of wins to start the season. You’re going to have these losses. You’ve just got to move on.”

Their latest was a lethargic 4-2 defeat to the Canadiens on Tuesday night to end a two-game road trip on back-to-back nights and snap a two-game winning streak. The Islanders could lose their grip on second place in the Metropolitan Division as their lead over the Flyers is down to one point with the Flyers, who have won five straight, hosting the Coyotes on Thursday night.

The Islanders did not practice on Wednesday so it’s unclear whether right wing Cal Clutterbuck will be available against Vegas. He logged just 2:02 against the Canadiens and exited after the first period when he took an unpenalized crosscheck to the face.

The Islanders beat the Maple Leafs, 5-4, in their last game at the Coliseum. They’ve gone 5-3-1 since, a decent enough record but with some concerning signs.

They needed third-period rallies in both a 4-3 shootout win at Philadelphia on Nov. 16 and a 5-4 overtime win at Pittsburgh three nights later. They also beat the Penguins, 4-3, in overtime on Nov. 21 at Barclays Center.

That led into an 0-2-1 California trip. They did play well in a 2-1 overtime loss at San Jose on Nov. 23. But they were a no-show in a 3-0 loss at Anaheim on Nov. 25 that snapped a franchise-record 15-0-2 streak. The effort was better two nights later at Los Angeles but still resulted in a 4-1 loss.

Their 2-0 win over the Blue Jackets in Brooklyn on Nov. 30 was their most complete effort of this stretch. But Monday night’s 4-1 win at Detroit was marred by allowing six power plays to the hapless Red Wings, who are in an 0-8-2 slide.

After Tuesday’s loss, center Mathew Barzal said the Canadiens dominated for the first 50 minutes before the Islanders rallied late in the third period.

“We couldn’t really get anything through the neutral zone,” Barzal said.

The Islanders will have to play a faster, more precise game against the Golden Knights, who have won five straight. Vegas is looking to sweep its road trip into the area, having beaten the Rangers, 4-1, on Monday night and the Devils, 4-3, on Tuesday.

“We’ve been on the road here quite a bit,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “After a tough one like that, the next one is really important. So, it’s really important for us to find a way to regroup and bring our full team effort.”

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