The Islanders are going to be waiting a while to find out who their next opponent is.
They know for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs that they'll play the winner of the Washington-Carolina series, but that series is guaranteed to go until at least Monday night after the Hurricanes defeated the Capitals Thursday night in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. The home team has won each game, and Washington will host Game 5 on Saturday before the series shifts back to Raleigh Monday for Game 6. Had Washington won Thursday, they could've won the series on Saturday.
So it will be more than a week between games for the Isles, who clinched a sweep of the Penguins on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
"We've got some time here," Barry Trotz said Thursday. "The good of it is that some guys that (have) the bumps and bruises, the nagging injuries that come during the playoffs, we've got a little bit of time. That's the positive. The negative is you've got maybe a lot of time where you lose a little bit of sharpness, you lose a little bit of the focus, whatever. So the goal for us right now is to have a real specific plan."
Should the series go to seven games, Game 7 would take place on Wednesday, meaning the Islanders might not play again until next Friday. That would be quite a long layoff, but the Isles do have a couple of players nursing wounds, and such a scenario would mean their next opponent could be worn out from playing seven games and having to jump right into the next series.
Regardless of what happens, the Islanders will be prepared.
"I know Washington fairly well. Just saying," said a smiling Trotz, who won the Stanley Cup last season with the Capitals. "So honestly I'm weighted right now to watching Carolina a little more because I just don't them quite as well. I'm preparing for both. It's double the work, but I think it's actually a good exercise. It keeps you sharp on both sides."
The Capitals will be a weaker team moving forward as T.J. Oshie suffered an injury on Thursday after being pushed into the boards. Caps coach Todd Reirden said Oshie "will not be with our team for a while. He won't be playing anytime soon."