It was back to the beginning for the Islanders.
But reuniting the top two lines from the season’s first four games alone won’t help them snap out of their two-game losing streak and three-game funk of sloppy play. They must rediscover their commitment to detail-oriented structure when they face the Devils on Friday afternoon at Prudential Center.
“It’s on us,” said left wing Anthony Beauvillier, reunited with center Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey while Brock Nelson was put back in between Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle for Thursday’s practice in East Meadow. “It’s about our starts, it’s about our execution and the way we’ve managed games, especially the first 10 minutes.
We’ve just got to get back to basics, back to the grind mentality, the grit. It’s easy to fix. It’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s about execution and commitment.”
The Islanders (10-8-2), who will face the Hurricanes on Saturday night at Barclays Center, opened a stretch of four games in six days with a 5-0 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The Islanders lost to the Stars, 6-2, on Sunday and have allowed 16 goals in their past three games.
“It’s just working together, making strong plays and talking,” defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. “If you do those three things, there’s no problems.”
“It’s just a matter of scoring,” Barzal added. “We’ve just got to bury our chances. There were a couple of crucial moments in the last three games where we needed a goal, myself included, and we’ve just got to find a way to get to the net.”
The Islanders’ top-six forwards have produced only one even-strength goal in the past three games, including a 7-5 win over the Rangers on Nov. 15. Beauvillier notched his first career hat trick in that game and added a goal against the Stars but played on Valtteri Filppula’s third line both times.
“There’s a certain detail, a certain commitment, a certain responsibility that goes with almost every play that we have to recognize a little better than we have the last couple of games,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We’ve got to get the sloppiness out of our game. Some guys are casual, some guys are not executing.
“We need our skill guys going. You win and lose with your top guys over the long haul.”
Notes & quotes: Ryan Pulock did not practice after playing through an arm issue Wednesday. Trotz said he expects him to be available Friday . . . Cal Clutterbuck (illness) practiced and is expected to be available.