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Isles coach Barry Trotz to face Capitals for first time since winning the Stanley Cup

Islanders coach Barry Trotz walks off the ice

Islanders coach Barry Trotz walks off the ice after the Islanders defeated the Hurricanes on Nov. 24, 2018. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

The family and the furniture are finally in the new home, and hosting the neighbors is on the agenda. So yes, Barry Trotz is very much starting to feel like a Long Islander, even if he still frets that he won’t be able to recover and get to Barclays Center if he accidentally takes the wrong train.

Monday night in Brooklyn brings another step in Trotz’s transition as he’ll face his former team, the Capitals, for the first time as Islanders coach. He, along with associate coach Lane Lambert and director of goaltending Mitch Korn (both followed Trotz to the Islanders from Washington) will receive their Stanley Cup rings.

“You’re sort of trying to win the Stanley Cup since you’re 7 years old,” said Trotz, who led the Capitals to a five-game win over the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to culminate his four-season tenure in Washington. “I got an opportunity to do it with a terrific organization and a terrific bunch of young men and athletes, and I’ve become very close with them. They’ll always be very special.

“It’ll be awkward a little bit,” Trotz added. “Just a little bit weird because there’s so many good memories. They’ve got a couple of new guys, but pretty much that whole team is back. I was proud to be a part of it and do something great with it.”

Still, Trotz knows there’s little room for sentimentality. The Islanders (12-8-2), who have won two straight, need a win against the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals (13-7-3), who have won five straight.

Trotz is expecting this game to be a little different from the first time his Capitals faced the Predators after he coached in Nashville for 15 seasons because it’s a home game for the Islanders. The Isles are at Washington on Jan. 18 and April 6, which will be the regular-season finale.

“It’ll probably feel a little more normal because it’s a game right here in my new hometown,” Trotz said.

Not that his new players are expecting it to be a normal day for Trotz.  “I’m sure, come Monday morning, there will be some extra video, extra stuff to get us prepared for that match,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said.

“Having won a Stanley Cup myself, I know the honor,” added defenseman Nick Leddy, who was a member of the Blackhawks in 2013. “It’s a very special moment for any hockey player or coach to win a Stanley Cup because they’re far and few in between. It’ll be a special night for him for sure.”

Trotz stepped down as the Capitals’ coach on June 18 after he and the organization could not come to terms on a new contract, becoming the first Cup-winning coach to leave that team immediately since Scotty Bowman retired after leading the Red Wings to the Cup in 2002.

Three days later, Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello hired him to replace Doug Weight.

New York Sports