The Islanders have shown the ability to bounce back from bad losses. Now how about leaving those clunkers out of their game in the first place?
“We’ve got to get out of that one-good, one-bad situation,” Doug Weight said after the Isles practiced at Northwell Health Ice Center on Wednesday in advance of hosting the Hurricanes on Thursday. “Not necessarily the outcomes, even though results drive your emotions. I mean the performances, whether it’s one good, one bad, two good, one bad — we want to get on a roll here.
“We want to start putting that game out on the ice on a more regular basis than we’ve done. Keep challenging ourselves. I’d like to continue Saturday’s effort tomorrow. It’s a big weekend for us.”
The Isles put Friday’s 5-0 shelling by the Stars behind them quickly, turning in a far better performance a night later in St. Louis in a 5-2 win. They have lost three times by more than a goal this season and followed each of those games with big victories — by three goals twice and by four goals once.
But sitting at 9-6-2 and in the thick of a Metro Division pack that is separated from top to bottom by just six points, the Isles know that a good streak could vault them to the top. Conversely, a bad three or four games could leave them flailing.
“I think that’s our next step — bring the game you saw in St. Louis 99 percent of the time,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “We could win at a 75 percent rate with that, give or take. With the talent we have in the room, I think we’re a .750 win percentage team, if not better. That’s what you strive for.”
Thursday’s game marks the first of six straight in the Eastern Conference and 12 of the next 13 in the East after the Islanders played 13 of their first 17 against the West. The Hurricanes are one of two teams at 18 points and the Isles face them Sunday in Raleigh as well, a 5 p.m. start on the back end of a back-to-back that starts Saturday in Tampa against the league-leading Lightning.
“We’ve been good enough for 9-6-2 but we’re not there yet,” Clutterbuck said. “The Devils are in the mix, Carolina’s a really good team and they’re near the bottom. The Rangers struggle for a couple weeks and now they’re right back in it. You can’t have a bad stretch.”
Notes & quotes: Anthony Beauvillier (ankle) practiced for the second straight day with no issues and could be back in the lineup on Thursday. Josh Ho-Sang (illness) practiced on Wednesday as well. If Beauvillier can play Thursday, Ho-Sang must either return to Bridgeport because of the emergency conditions of his recall or have the recall conditions changed to a regular recall.
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