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Jan 13, 2024 8:18 am

Islanders aim to flex offensive muscle vs. Predators

Barry Trotz will see a lot of familiar faces on Saturday night when the Nashville Predators host the New York Islanders.

But the Predators’ general manager also will see a far more offensively potent team than the one he oversaw during his previous job as the Islanders’ head coach.

The Islanders were off Friday after overcoming a two-goal deficit in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

The Predators, meanwhile, will complete a back-to-back set after posting a 6-3 win over the host Dallas Stars on Friday.

The Islanders fell into another multi-goal deficit after the Maple Leafs scored three unanswered goals to bridge the first and second periods.

But Alexander Romanov scored 4:18 into the second period, and Bo Horvat tied the game a little under 10 minutes later for New York, which earned the victory on Mathew Barzal’s goal 21 seconds into overtime.

“Ever since I’ve been here, the last seven years, that’s been part of our core — just resiliency and knowing that we can come back in any game,” Barzal said.

What is new for New York is the relative ease in which it can score. The Islanders have at least four goals in a game 17 times this season and rank 19th in goals per game. They finished 22nd last season under Lane Lambert, who took over when Trotz was fired by general manager Lou Lamoriello following the 2021-22 campaign.

“I think we’ve proven that we can kind of score with anybody, and we proved that again tonight,” Barzal said.

The win Friday continued a resurgent season for the Predators in Trotz’s debut as the general manager of the team he coached from 1998-99 through 2013-14. Nashville has gone 18-8-1 following a 5-10-0 start to move into sole possession of the top wild card in the Western Conference with 47 points.

The Predators ignited their offense after a quiet first period to topple the Stars. Jeremy Lauzon and Tommy Novak scored a goal just under 4 1/2 minutes apart in the second for Nashville, which enjoyed a 30-15 edge in shots over the final two periods.

“I thought we were really good,” Predators coach Andrew Brunette said. “Besides the first five minutes of the game, I thought we did all things we like to do. I don’t think we gave them a lot of space. We nullified their rush game. In the third period, we made it a little harder on ourselves than needed, but it was a great 20-man effort. Everybody was pulling their own tonight.”

Ryan O’Reilly recorded three points (one goal, two assists) on Friday.

“I thought we started the game a little slow, but we kind of weathered the storm,” O’Reilly said. “It was positive we just kept working to get a huge win like that.”

Gustav Nyquist scored into an empty net to extend his point streak to 10 games (seven goals, seven assists).

–Field Level Media

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