It took a trip to California for the New York Islanders to put the numbers on the scoreboard they were expecting during a home-heavy stretch prior to spending four days across the country.
The Arizona Coyotes began their trip by allowing their most goals in nearly three weeks.
New York looks to bring that scoring touch back to Brooklyn and win back-to-back games for the first time this month when it faces Arizona on Monday night.
The Islanders (9-6-3) scored two goals or fewer each time during a 1-3-2 stretch before leaving to face San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim last week. They beat the Sharks 4-2 on Tuesday and fell 2-1 to the Kings two nights later despite a 32-22 shot advantage before defeating the Ducks 4-1 on Friday.
Frans Nielsen scored twice for New York, which hadn't scored four since beating Calgary on Oct. 26, the last time they won a second straight contest.
The Islanders are 8-1-0 when scoring at least three goals.
“Goals have been hard to come by for everyone a little bit here. To put four on the board was good for us,” said Anders Lee, who had two assists. “Especially on the road, far away from home at the end of the trip here against a good team.”
The Islanders began the season scoring at least three in seven of their first nine before going into a bit of drought. They're still struggling with the man advantage, going 1 for 21 over their last seven.
''The important thing for us is to build toward playing that type of game consistently, like we did last year,'' forward Cal Clutterbuck said. ''I think it's taken us a little bit longer this year. But these last three games have been a pretty good indication that we're starting to find it.''
New York has scored fewer than three in each game during a 1-2-1 stretch at home and look to bust out against Arizona (9-7-1), which began a four-game trip with a 5-2 loss to Columbus on Saturday.
The Coyotes had their three-game winning streak snapped and hadn't given up that many goals since losing 6-0 to Boston on Oct. 27. They had won four of their previous five on the road.
“We know we've done a good job on the road. (Saturday) wasn't one of those good jobs,” coach Dave Tippett told the team's official website. “You learn a lot about your team in certain situations and that was one of them.”
Anthony Duclair had a goal and an assist and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored, giving him two goals and three assists during a five-game point streak.
“I'm feeling pretty good about my game,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I'm playing with a lot of confidence and it feels good with the puck. I think me and 'Stoney' (Michael Stone) are playing better together as a unit.”
Mike Smith had a rough game, though, allowing five goals on 21 shots after posting a 2.34 goals-against average during a 3-1-0 stretch. He's 1-3-0 with a 3.85 GAA against the Islanders since 2013 and lost the last meeting 5-1 on Feb. 24.
Nielsen had a goal and an assist and Lee also scored in that matchup for New York, which could counter with Jaroslav Halak in this contest. Halak, who rested Saturday, has lost three straight starts despite a 2.39 GAA in those games.
He has a 1.40 GAA during a 4-0-1 stretch against the Coyotes.
- Anders Lee
- Anthony Duclair
- Arizona Coyotes
- Cal Clutterbuck
- Frans Nielsen
- Jaroslav Halak
- Michael Stone
- New York Islanders
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson