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Coming Together As A Team

Islanders hit the road for first extended trip of the season

Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 6:53 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Coming Together As A Team
Islanders hit the road for first extended trip of the season
The Islanders claimed Keith Aucoin off waivers last week from their first opponent on this upcoming road trip: The Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo: Getty Images)

The Islanders hopped on a plane Wednesday afternoon to begin their first road trip of the season. With five games in eight nights beginning Thursday in Toronto, the team certainly has a challenge in front of them. Head Coach Jack Capuano thinks the trip should give the team, which has nine new players on the roster, its first chance to bond as a group.

“This is perfect timing for us,” Capuano said. “I think any time, early in the season especially, when you can get on the road and bond a little bit, the guys come together. We’re going into some tough buildings, but with the new faces, this should be a good trip for us.”

The Islanders are 1-1-0 through two games (both at home) this season. The upcoming trip is one of two five-game trips the team will take this year, with the other one coming in April when they close out the 2012-13 campaign. For center Keith Aucoin, who the Islanders claimed off waivers in the middle of Training Camp, the trip will provide an opportunity to get to know his new teammates.

“A lot of guys don’t know each other that well yet after just a week of Training Camp,” Aucoin said. “It’ll be good to get away, find out who your roommate is, go to dinner with the guys on this team and get to know them. Especially in a shortened season, every team needs to get to know each other right away.”

The Islanders acquired four players during training camp via the waiver wire. Forward Matt Moulson believes that even though some of the players are still getting used to their new surroundings, the team has come a long way.

“I think we’re a pretty close team already, but whenever you go on these road trips, it’s good to get away with the team,” Moulson said. “You spend a lot of time with the guys when you’re on the road. It’s your family away from home.”

Following Thursday’s game in Toronto, the team will fly to Boston for a Friday night contest against the Bruins. After that, they cross the border for Sunday’s game in Winnipeg, then return to the US for a game in Pittsburgh on Tuesday before concluding the trip in New Jersey on Thursday.

Islanders captain Mark Streit knows that this is a big test for the club, because solid performances on the trip could set the tone for a strong season.

“It’s a great way to start a road trip,” Streit said of playing the Maple Leafs and Bruins on back-to-back nights. “We have a great team, but we have to make sure we play 60-minute hockey and follow through. It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but I’m looking forward to it and I think the team is as well.”

Much has been said since the start of Training Camp about the importance of getting off to a good start. With such a long trip this early in the schedule, it would seem like the deck is stacked against the Islanders. Capuano prefers not to make those excuses though.

“People talk about a sprint and you have to get off to a good start, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that every night is a battle for every single team,” Capuano said. “On any given night, any team can win. We’ve just got to stick to our game plan, and come with the same energy level and the same attitude we came with during our win Monday against Tampa.”

When asked what had to happen over the next five games for this trip to be considered a success, Capuano elected to think less in terms of point totals and more in terms of the team’s effort on the ice.

“Their work ethic and determination and their willingness to win hockey games will make this a successful trip,” Capuano said. “I thought we did a good job against Tampa – we had 18 shots in the first period. We continued our attack the way we wanted to play. We’re a team that has to try to play in the offensive zone and grind teams out as the game goes on. We have to be a little bit more disciplined in certain areas of our game. I tell the players, ‘just win your shift. Don’t worry about anything else.’”

The Maple Leafs play at Pittsburgh Wednesday before heading home to Toronto. Thursday’s puck drop at the Air Canada Centre is slated for 7 p.m.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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