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Business Trip

The Islanders begin a four-game road trip this week, with all energy focused on the ice

Monday, 03.25.2013 / 5:47 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Business Trip
The Islanders begin a four-game road trip this week, with all energy focused on the ice
Brad Boyes has 13 points in 13 road games this season, and has found the score sheet in five straight away from Nassau Coliseum (Photo: Joe Sargent/National Hockey League)

A spring visit to Washington D.C. conjures images of the National Mall, The Smithsonian Museum, The White House and countless other destinations on the District of Columbia “bucket list.” But the only sights the New York Islanders will see this week in the nation’s capital are those on the two mile drive between their hotel and the Verizon Center, the site of Tuesday’s game against the Capitals.

The Islanders embarked on a four-game road trip Monday that will see them make stops in Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. The team will stop home briefly Sunday before re-boarding the bus that night for a game against the Devils.

The club enters the trip just two points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers, powered by their road record of 8-4-1, which is fourth-best in the Eastern Conference.

“I think we play simple on the road,” Boyes said. “We get pucks in the zone without trying to do anything too fancy. We get pucks on the net. We finish checks. Those are the little things that we focus on.”

Everything in the team’s itinerary this week is geared toward the game. The focus among the players is astutely on the next opponent, and minimizing external distractions. Most of the players are creatures of habit, with all 24 hours of each day structured to leave their bodies and minds as primed for the game.

With so much to see in Washington D.C., the players and coaches could visit numerous historic buildings, monuments and memorials during their stay. But Matt Carkner says visiting those tourist destinations is not on the agenda.

“No – I’ve never seen the White House, Washington Monument, any of that stuff,” Carkner said. “Maybe one of these days, but it’s tough to fit it in to a trip like this. Our routine is not that exciting. I’m with some of the old guys usually – me and Boults (Eric Boulton) and (Marty) Reasoner. When we get in, we’re probably going to relax and find a spot to get a bite to eat, chit-chat, and go back to the hotel and shut it down.”

At 14-15-3, the Islanders are just two points out of the top-8 in the Eastern Conference standings. The Capitals are tied with 31 points, while the Flyers (28 points) and Devils (36 points) all are within close range. The Penguins have a five-point lead on Montreal for first place in the Conference, so all four opponents the Islanders will face have their eyes on the standings.

With 16 games remaining against teams they are battling for playoff positions, Keith Aucoin says now is not the time to divert from his carefully crafted routine.

“We’re going to be either at the rink or at the hotel the whole time,” Aucoin said. “The guys are together, and it’s all hockey. We stay focused and we’ve been pretty successful. Once we get to Washington, I’ll go straight to the hotel and relax a little bit. I’ll grab dinner with a couple of the guys. I like to have a steak the night before a game. Then I go back to the hotel, relax and watch a little TV and try to get to bed by 11:00 for a good night’s sleep. On game days, I get up for breakfast at the same time every day and go to pre-game skate. I always have my chicken parm and pasta, take a two-hour nap, and then I’m at the game.”

The youngest player on the trip, Casey Cizikas, is rooming for the first time with Kevin Poulin. Even the 22-year-olds are all business on the road.

“We might go out for dinner, but the goal is to relax and get a good sleep so we can get ready for tomorrow,” Cizikas said. “Me and Pouls still have to feel each other out. We haven’t roomed together before, but it’s pretty easy. You find a show that you both like, and you leave it on, then you both just pass out at the same time.”

With four wins in their last five road games, including two shutouts in that span, the Islanders look to continue their success away from Long Island and make a strong push toward a playoff spot. Tuesday’s game at Washington will start at 7:00 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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