“You don’t want to be in the box that much,” Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. “For the guys that aren’t killing penalties, they are getting cold on the bench sitting there, then there are TV timeouts. It’s nothing we haven’t experienced before but it does take away from the rhythm of the game.”
Mayfield opened the scoring 16:49 into the first with his fifth goal, matching his career best from the 2018-19 season. The bruising defenseman sent a long wrist shot past Gustavsson.
It was the first time the Islanders had scored first since Dec. 29 against Columbus. It also was the 26th goal by an Islanders defenseman this season.
“Defensively, we were not bad at all,” Gustavsson said. “We were really good defensively. Their best chance was a breakaway in the second period but other than that they had shots from outside.”
HELP ON THE WAY
Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech practiced with the team prior to the game against the Wild for the first time since sustaining an undisclosed injury on Dec. 6 against St. Louis. Pelech skated on his own for the previous three days. … Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri also is close to returning. He traveled with the team on its recent four-game trip. Palmieri left the game against Arizona on Dec. 16 with an upper-body injury. He has missed 22 of the previous 23 games.