Three days of rest and two days of practice have passed since the Islanders last played a game. Now they’ll try to extend the four-game point streak that led into their break at home during their season-opening 13-game road trip.
"We’re definitely well-rested after a few days off," defenseman Adam Pelech said after Friday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. "I think it’s imperative that after the long break, we come out ready to go."
"I don’t know if there’s a momentum carryover," coach Barry Trotz said. "But I think just a confidence."
The Islanders finished the first portion of their long road trip with shutouts on back-to-back nights, beating the Coyotes, 3-0, last Saturday and the Golden Knights, 2-0, on Sunday. That left them on a 3-0-1 run after the trip started with a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes and an equally slow-paced 5-1 loss to the Panthers.
"We had to grind through some games," Trotz said. "Maybe not our best games. But we ground through it. Certain areas of our game were very evident and allowed us to win. And some areas of our game we still have to work on.
"There’s no momentum. We just have to look at a new focus. We’re going into Nashville, they’re a very good team. They play a high-pressure game very similar to Carolina and Vegas. And it’s a [12:30 local time] start, so we’ve got to be ready."
It’s Trotz’s first chance since before the COVID-19 pandemic to face the Predators (3-4-0), whom he coached from their inaugural season in 1998 through 2014.
The Islanders’ last trip to Nashville resulted in a 5-0 loss on Feb. 13, 2020, a little more than a month after John Hynes replaced Peter Laviolette as Predators coach.
Trotz said Hynes, a former Devils coach, sought him out for some advice the last time the Islanders were in town.
"I really didn’t know Hynsie very much," Trotz said. "I didn’t know him in New Jersey. But we talked in the hallway probably for 20 minutes. He was asking my impressions about some of the things in Nashville. He’s done a really good job there."
Hynes will serve as a Team USA assistant coach under Mike Sullivan for February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. Trotz will be a Team Canada assistant under the Lightning’s Jon Cooper.
Notes & quotes: Zach Parise returned to practice after missing Thursday’s session because of back stiffness. Trotz said Parise will be a game-time decision against the Predators, and Kieffer Bellows continued to skate in Parise’s spot on the second power-play unit. "He’s anticipating playing, he felt good enough," Trotz said. "Sometimes you get up in the morning and you feel great and then, as the day wears on, gravity takes over. This way, there won’t be much time before the game. If he can get going in the morning, he should be fine."