The Islanders know the Penguins’ mentality heading into Thursday night’s game at Barclays Center. It’s exactly the same mindset they had facing the Hurricanes for the first time this season since being swept in the second round of the playoffs.
“When you play teams in the playoffs, there is a little bit of a rivalry that becomes of it,” coach Barry Trotz said after Wednesday's practice in East Meadow.
The Islanders can extend their winning streak — the second-longest in team history at 10 games after Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over the Senators in Brooklyn — when they meet the Penguins for the first time since their first-round playoff sweep.
“You always remember, for at least a couple of years,” defenseman Johnny Boychuk said.
“They’re going to come hard,” left wing Anthony Beauvillier added. “That’s what our mentality was, kind of payback, against Carolina. We couldn’t do it. It’s in the back of their head for sure and they’re going to come out strong against us.”
The Islanders lost 5-2 at Carolina on Oct. 11, which left them at 1-3-0. They haven’t lost since.
The franchise mark is a 15-game winning streak from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20, 1982 in the midst of the Islanders’ run of four straight Stanley Cup championships.
That streak ended when the Penguins of Rick Kehoe, Randy Carlyle, Pat Boutette and goalie Michel Dion beat the visiting Islanders, 4-3, on Feb. 21, 1982, after losing four times previously to them during the streak.
But perhaps one of the keys to the current Islanders’ success is they’ve paid little attention to their history, be it this streak or the one they are now chasing.
“The No. 1 thing is whatever is in the past, is in the past,” Trotz said. “It doesn’t change anything. The only thing that you can have influence on is the future and the future is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The future is practicing the right way today. That’s been our mindset.”
The Islanders beat the Penguins by an aggregate 14-6 in their playoff sweep, including a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was held to one assist in the four games.
“They’re playing as good as any team in the NHL right now,” Trotz said. “This will be a real good challenge for us.”
Notes & Quotes: Trotz confirmed defenseman Nick Leddy (lower body) will miss his third straight game and rookie defenseman Noah Dobson would be in the lineup for a third straight game for the first time in his career…Leddy and forwards Leo Komarov (illness/neck) and Matt Martin (injured reserve/lower body) all skated on their own before the Islanders’ practice…Left wing Andrew Ladd (long-term injured reserve/knee), out since late March, completed his three-game conditioning stint with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport as the Sound Tigers beat visiting Springfield, 1-0, on Wednesday. Ladd did not have a point as Bridgeport went 2-1-0. “The plan was to get him to the point where he can start playing,” Trotz said. “The plan is to see where he is and plan from there.”