Specifically, the difference has been most noticeable around the net and up top. Anders Lee, who plays the net-front spot on the first power-play unit, picked up power-play goals in the two games before the team’s 11-day break between its last two games. Upon the Islanders’ return, Josh Bailey cleaned up a rebound from Anthony Beauvillier for a power-play goal against the Devils on Thursday night.
“Noah is really coming into his own,” Lambert said. “He’s reading plays a lot better. I think he’s worked a lot on his shot. I think his shot has really improved. And it’s become an element for us up top.
“And Robin, he’s a power-play guy. He’s working his way into that role and he’s been doing a pretty good job of it as well.”
Better puck movement has led to more scoring, which has led to more confidence — a cycle that reinforces itself.
“If you don’t get many goals but you do good things, you try to keep going,” Pageau said. “And now the pucks have started going in and the confidence is rising.”