A trip to the East Coast might have been all the Vegas Golden Knights needed to get their season on track.
On Thursday, the surging Knights will look to complete a perfect three-game trek when they visit the suddenly inconsistent New York Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y.
Both teams were off Wednesday following the completion of a back-to-back set of road games Tuesday. The Golden Knights ran their winning streak to a season-high four games when Jonathan Marchessault scored a natural hat trick in the third period to lead Vegas to a 4-3 comeback victory over the New Jersey Devils.
The Islanders' own third period comeback fell short in a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
A sustained winning streak has been a long time in coming for the Golden Knights, who previously had four winning streaks of at least two games and four losing streaks lasting at least two games. Vegas lost eight of 10 (2-7-1) prior to its current run, which includes three one-goal victories and two comebacks as well as a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Golden Knights were outshot 17-7 in the first period and fell behind twice in the first 40 minutes against the Devils, hours after New Jersey fired head coach John Hynes and replaced him with Alain Nasreddine.
While Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant was relieved the Golden Knights were rewarded with the victory, he also saw an opportunity to use the slow start as a cautionary tale.
"It feels good," Gallant said. "We've still got a long way to go, but it's definitely going in the right direction right now. We've just got to keep battling every game. We can't play many first periods like we did tonight, but overall it's been real good."
Few teams had been as consistently good this season as the Islanders, who produced a franchise-record 17-game point streak from Oct. 12 through Nov. 23 and entered Wednesday with the third-most points in the NHL. But New York is just 2-3-1 in its past six contests, a stretch that began with the final game of the point streak (a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks).
The Islanders trailed 2-0 heading into the third period Tuesday, when they fell in regulation on the second game of a back-to-back set for just the second time in 17 tries in two seasons under Barry Trotz.
"We played tired -- tired mind, tired body," Trotz said Tuesday night. "We weren't good enough. We sort of got what we deserved, and I felt that if we came out with two points tonight based on our performance that we would have stolen it. To be realistic, we didn't have enough push. (The Canadiens) had more urgency and desperation. They deserved to win."
The game Thursday will be the Islanders' first at Nassau Coliseum since a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 13. New York, which is scheduled to play 28 of its 41 regular season home games at the Coliseum, has won six straight at its old home, where it is 7-2-0 overall this year. It is 4-0-1 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
--Field Level Media