2. They showed more muscle in the second period
Over the last few weeks, I believed the Islanders looked a little soft and they looked that way in the first period of this game. Columbus was able to dictate the play a bit more, leading to the Blue Jackets’ six high-danger chances to the Islanders three in the first.
However, the Islanders came out in the second with more checking and aggressive play, and by the end of the second period, the Islanders had 28 hits compared to Columbus’s 13. The Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas line had 15 hits between them at the end of the second, more than the entire Columbus team had at that point in the game.
It was that return to the Islanders identity that the team had gotten away from them of late.
My guess is Trotz reminded the players they were playing a team on the second leg of a back to back and to be aggressive and check more. This will wear and tire them quicker and seemed to be the case with Barzal’s goal late in the second as he outskated a tired Columbus player.
With five of the New York Islanders next six games being on the road. Hopefully, they’ve found their identity now and they can take that identity with them on the road. Unlike that recent California trip.