Islanders aim for better back-to-back fate


The Islanders are ready to take another stab at back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday after dropping the back end of their first set in the play-in series with the Panthers.

After picking up their first loss of the postseason in the second game of that back-to-back, the Islanders were somewhat spoiled with full days in between each of their five games with the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. Now, the Islanders are scheduled to play two sets of back-to-back games should their series with the Flyers go seven games.

On a Zoom call Tuesday Jordan Eberle said he didn’t see many differences in his team’s approach toward back-to-backs.

“We’re all in good shape,” he said. “If anything, a lot of times you feel better on the back-to-backs. The biggest thing is we have a day today to recover and obviously we know we have two games, but you have to worry about one at a time. We’ll worry about the third game once it comes.”

The Islanders went up 2-0 in Game 3 last week against the Panthers, but seemingly ran out of gas as Florida scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 win and avoid the sweep. It’s obvious just how tiring playoff hockey can be, especially two days in a row, but the fact that there is no travel has been beneficial.

“[The no traveling] aspect is definitely nice, the back-to-back is still tough,” Brock Nelson said. “Especially now, it’s high intensity and a physical game. It’s kind of nice the spacing of a 3 o’clock game and a 7 o’clock game, you get a couple extra hours and a good night sleep so you can treat it as a regular game day. Physically, your body is already amped up and ready to go, so it’s just trying to keep your mind sharp and go out there and execute.”

Coach Barry Trotz said he had no concerns for Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterbuck’s health after both were roughed up in Game 1 Monday.

“Both finished fine,” he said. “I saw them walking around today so they should be good.”

Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault, who was the Rangers bench boss for five seasons, opted to pull goaltender Carter Hart with 7:50 left in the third period Monday. Trotz said he’s a lot more conservative when it comes to pulling his goalie.

“I think in the last few years it has widened when you pull your goalie,” Trotz said. “You’re looking to jump-start something, there’s no right or wrong [way]. I’m generally probably more conservative than someone else. Nothing surprises me because I’ve seen it quite a bit in the last 20 years in the league. They get a goal there, there’s lots of time. We were fortunate to get an empty-netter. It worked out for us that night, other nights it’ll work out for them.”

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