The Islanders will eventually win a game at their new UBS Arena, $ 1.1 billion.
It may even be Friday night as they finish the building’s first home game against the Penguins, provided the NHL does not postpone the game in respect of the Islanders’ COVID-19 outburst.
The Islanders in last place (5-9-2), who did not train at Thanksgiving, got their losing streak extended to seven games with Wednesday night’s 4-1 defeat to rival Rangers. They have each lost by at least three goals, including Saturday night, arena-baptism 5-2 loss to the Flames and Sunday night’s 3-0 decision to the Maple Leafs.
“Well, we’m 0-3, so I do not think I’ve gotten there yet,” Trotz said on Thursday when asked if UBS Arena was starting to feel more like home. “But we have not had an ideal lineup. I would like to see us get a win in this building for two reasons. I think our fans deserve it. We need it for ourselves. For the position. For a little bit of confidence going forward to this building.
“It’s a great building. People are on top of you. It’s a really good atmosphere. We have to make it a really hard place for people to come in and play.”
The Islanders had no new positive tests before Wednesday’s loss, but still lacked captain Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Kieffer Bellows, Ross Johnston and defenders Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara, all of whom remained in the COVID-19 protocol. In addition, Brock Nelson and defenders Noah Dobson and Ryan Pulock are all put on the sidelines with injuries to the lower body.
That meant Scott Mayfield was the only available defender on Wednesday among the team’s top six.
“If the effort was not there, it would be worrying,” Trotz said. “But the effort is there. We are not getting the results and it is not easy. We still have three NHL lines. They may be bumped up a bit because they are missing some people. But we will need some production from more of our top players. “
Despite that, Mathew Barzal between Zach Parise and Richard Panik had a call from the AHL Bridgeport with more than 520 NHL experience. Jean-Gabriel Pageau moved up to Nelson’s place to center Anthony Beauvillier and Kyle Palmieri. And Casey Cizikas’ line of identity with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck remains intact.
Otto Koivula’s third line with Andy Andreoff and Oliver Wahlstrom had the least experience but produced the lone goal.
Palmieri has just one goal and six assists, and Parise, with three assists, has yet to score his first goal. Barzal has one goal and no assists in the last six games and Pageau has only one goal and three assists this season and has played eight games without points.
“We have lost some opportunities due to execution,” Trotz said. “We just need more production from guys who are put in the roles. We have some guys who are dry. It’s hard to win hockey games when we’re a little exhausted and so you need people to find ways of producing. “
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