"I think I had kind of fallen into a habit of kind of letting the game come to me instead of being aggressive and using my skating ability, and when I do that I feel like that's when I'm most effective," he said. "I needed to get back to doing that. Sometimes you need a little bit of a reminder not to get too comfortable and continue to work as hard as you can."
Consider him reminded. Restored to the lineup Thursday at Boston, he set up the tying and winning goals in the Ducks' 3-2 overtime victory over the Bruins and was plus-two defensively. He also was credited with one hit and four blocked shots in 23 minutes and 57 seconds of ice time.
"When he plays that game of getting the puck and moving it and moving up with the play, he's a really good player," Coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday. "That's his attributes, and he used them to the fullest.
"He was creating. There's so much you can do with speed, and you can create with speed. And he does. And he pulls people with him when he's jumping into the play."
The Ducks can clinch a playoff spot Saturday through several scenarios; in essence, they need to gain three points on Calgary and four on the Kings. Although they're so close, Fowler said he and his teammates aren't thinking about it.
"We're trying to take it day by day," he said, "and when we do that, when we focus just on the task at hand, that's normally when we're a good team."
This will be the Ducks' final regular-season game at the Nassau Coliseum because the Islanders will move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season. It will be a sentimental occasion for Ducks assistant coach Brad Lauer, who was drafted by the Islanders in 1985 and spent parts of six seasons with them.
"Every time I've gone there I've always looked in the rafters," he said of banners that honor retired players and commemorate the Islanders' four consecutive Stanley Cup championships, from 1980 to 1983. "There were some special guys that played there that I was fortunate enough to play with in my days. I have a lot of memories of when I was growing up watching them, and then being able to play with them.
"I'll take an extra look around to remember the things that went on there. It was a very special time. Especially for me, because it was the start of my career, and that was a dream come true."
AT N.Y. ISLANDERS
When: 10 a.m.
On the air: TV: Prime ; Radio: 830.
Etc.: The Islanders have lost seven of their last 10 games, including a 3-2 loss Thursday to the Kings that extended their home winless streak to 0-5-1. They defeated the Ducks in the teams' previous meeting this season, a 3-2 overtime decision Nov. 5 at Honda Center. Michal Neuvirth is scheduled to start in goal for the Islanders.