Kieffer Bellows of the Islanders shoots the puck during the third...

Kieffer Bellows of the Islanders shoots the puck during the third period against the Oilers at UBS Arena on Jan. 1. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Make no mistake, the Islanders will always think defense first under president and general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz.

But there have been several encouraging signs their offense — still tied for last in the NHL with 64 goals, albeit having played a league-low 28 games — can continue to be more consistent when they finally resume their schedule.

"We’ll always be a defensive-minded team," associate coach Lane Lambert said after Wednesday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow as Trotz remained absent for a fifth day for personal reasons. "Our power play, lately, has been successful. When you have success on the power play, your offensive-minded players gain confidence from that. As long as we can continue with that, we’ll continue having success scoring goals."

The Islanders (10-12-6) sit last in the eight-team Metropolitan Division as they are in a doldrums stretch of three games in 25 days. They are idle until facing the Devils at UBS Arena next Thursday.

But they have gone 5-2-4 since Dec. 7 as they snapped an 0-8-3 plummet that coincided with a spate of injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak. The Islanders have scored 13 goals in their last four games and 31 in their last 10 games after compiling 33 goals over their first 18 games.

They may have almost a completely healthy roster for their next game. Only defenseman Ryan Pulock (long-term injured reserve/lower body) remains absent with defenseman Sebastian Aho clearing COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday.

And their once-anemic power play has goals in four straight games — for the first time since October 2018 — and is a dangerous 9-for-26 over their last 10.

"Scoring and getting more goals on the board is having a good power play," said top-line center Mathew Barzal, who has two goals and 11 assists over his last eight games, with at least one point in each.

"That stretch we went through was tough. Everybody was moving around. I had new wingers every night. Every center had different wingers. Different wingers had different centermen. We had new defensemen in the lineup. It was just a blender every night. Lately, we’ve had some concrete lines and I think it’s paying off in that the chemistry has been there."

Anders Lee has six goals in his last eight games, including three on the power play.

Former first-rounders Kieffer Bellows and defenseman Noah Dobson are both playing with an increased offensive confidence. Dobson scored his first career overtime winner in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Oilers at UBS Arena, giving him four goals and four assists in his last seven games. Bellows has a three-game point streak with two goals and two assists.

If Bellows can continue to score consistently, he and fellow first-rounder Oliver Wahlstrom, third on the team with eight goals, give the Islanders a pair of young wings with lethal shots.

More goal production is needed from veterans Josh Bailey, Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri, all who have one goal apiece. Bailey is second on the team with 11 assists.

More on this topic

More Islanders