Barry Trotz and the Islanders schedule is off to a weird start this year. They started last week with four days off, had three games in four days, and then had another four days off.
But the Islanders are finding ways to win. With other teams, most notably the cross-town New York Rangers, blaming the schedule for losses in the season, the Islanders have been winning hockey games.
Last week, the Islanders defeated the Coyotes, Senators and Flyers. Usually one of the most daunting aspects of an NHL schedule is back-to-back games, especially with a home-away split, but the back-to-back was actually one of the Islanders greatest strengths last year and has been this season so far.
Last season the Islanders went 11-1-1 on the second half of back-to-back games. Last year, Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner led the way, combining to form one of the best goaltender duos in the National Hockey League. The Islanders also received strong play from depth players throughout the organization, relying on unheralded heroes to step in and give other players breaks. Winning these games allowed the Islanders to finish second in the Metropolitan Division, making the playoffs and matching up with the Penguins in a first round series.
We all know how that one ended.
Usually one of the achilles heels of any NHL team, many people expect the Islanders to take a step back in their consecutive game success this season.
Much of this can be attributed to Trotz, arguably the best coach in hockey. He rotates his goaltenders and keeps his teams fresh no matter the challenge facing them.
Many teams struggle with having the energy to compete two nights in a row, but if Trotz can continue finding wins in these difficult situations, it could certainly go a long way in the Islanders making another playoff run.