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Isles start long trip determined to avoid meltdowns

Lubomir Visnovsky #11 and Johnny Boychuk #55 of

Lubomir Visnovsky #11 and Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders look on after the Montreal Canadiens scored a third-period goal at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

WINNIPEG - The last Islanders game of 2014 is the first game of the team's longest road trip of the season, a seven-game, multiple time-zone journey that will last two weeks and test the mettle of a team that's been tested a lot through 36 games.

Sometimes the Islanders have made those tests a bit more difficult than need be. That was the feeling on Monday when the Islanders blew a 3-0 lead in the third period for the second straight game, though this time they pulled out a 4-3 overtime win over the Capitals.

None of the next four games, beginning with a New Year's Eve game against the Jets here, are against division rivals. But the Islanders want to kick off this trip the right way and forget about the ugly meltdowns from the last two games.

"We're a confident group, we know what we've got," Anders Lee said. "We've been through the ups and downs, we know what it takes and we all believe in each other."

The Islanders choose to look at the end results from Saturday in Buffalo and Monday, with three points gained rather than big leads blown. They have handed away four three-goal leads in their last 10 games, with a 1-2-1 record in them.

"I've been here when we've played poorly and teams have come back," Jack Capuano said. "We dictated the pace in Buffalo, we dictated the pace [Monday]. I'll take both those third periods."

Notes & quotes: Injured Michael Grabner (lower body) and Matt Carkner (back surgery) joined the team on the road trip.

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