Islanders trying to be all business in Las Vegas ahead of showdown with Golden Knights
LAS VEGAS — There may have been a run on Visine in the visitors’ room at T-Mobile Arena before the Islanders took the ice for Wednesday’s practice. After a couple of drills, a few players took a peek at the heart-rate monitor display on strength coach Derrek Douglas’ iPad to see whose numbers might be trending into the red zone, indicating perhaps a little too much partying the night before.
But there were no outward signs that the Islanders ran late into Tuesday night on their day off here. Only a spirited practice that finished with a few sprints. The Isles know the situation they are in, still outside the East playoff picture.
They also know where the Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference in their first season. That alone should be enough to get everyone’s attention.
“Especially at home, they’ve been virtually perfect,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “Just another test for us. I don’t think we’ll do anything differently. The other stuff, there’s lots going on but having three days here, you get that out of your system, go do what you’re going to do and then from 11 today to game time is a regular road routine. Go for a good meal, hit the hay and try and give ’em hell tomorrow.”
Vegas is 19-2-2 at home this season, a big reason why it has rocketed to the top of the NHL and sent coach Gerard Gallant to the All-Star game, along with veterans James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury.
“We have to be fast, disciplined and play a lot like they’re playing, to be honest with you,” Doug Weight said. “They play like a lot of other teams, though they do play with a lot of pace and they’re disciplined with their shift length. I tell you how you play against it: You emulate it. People are winning, you show your own guys that we want to do that.”
The Islanders did enjoy a team dinner on Tuesday and they certainly got to see what the Golden Knights did in a 6-3 home win over the Blue Jackets. Nothing should be a surprise on Thursday.
“Everyone’s very aware of the importance of coming here, taking care of business on the ice as well as understanding things in the city, how they can lure you away from having the right focus,” John Tavares said. “I think everyone came to work today, had good focus and good preparation for tomorrow.”
Notes & quotes: Casey Cizikas (hand) and Johnny Boychuk (lower body) both practiced fully. Weight said he had no updates on either injured player nor would provide any updates in injured players in the future. “I am no longer discussing any injuries,” he said. “I try to do the best I can to update you, I know it’s your job to ask. I’m not going to update any more, it’s kind of tiring for me as far as stick-handling around upper body, lower body. Whoever’s in, I’ll give you the lineup and that’s that.”