The Islanders entertaining season could be in trouble if the team does not solve their offensive problems in a hurry. The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings – desperate for points – came into Nassau Coliseum and defeated the struggling Islanders 3-2.
It was the first time we saw Jack Capuano noticeably upset in the postgame press conference during the team’s recent poor stretch where the team has lost six of seven.
“You do not manage the puck you can’t win,” Capuano stated. “That’s the frustrating part for me … All of a sudden we tried to be fancy, tried to make the sexy plays and all of a sudden its in the back of our net.”
Capuano was referring to a failed clearing attempt that led to the game-winning goal. Andrej Sekera sent a puck towards the net and the red-hot Anze Kopitar tipped it past Jaroslav Halak.
“It’s disheartening to know that we are not supporting him (Halak) with goals,” Hickey explained. “It’s not fair when one guy is pulling his weight and we can’t put the puck in the net. We need to take advantage of a player who is playing at the top of his game like that.”
The Islanders net minder stood on his head at times during the 34 save performance, most importantly during the first period where the Kings outshot the Islanders 14-5.
The Islanders steadied the ship in the second period and scored the game’s first goal. Frans Nielsen sniped a wrist shot past Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick on an odd man rush opportunity. Just over five minutes later, shortly after the Islanders killed off a 5-on-3 power play, the Kings answered. Dustin Brown snapped off a wrist shot that got redirected by Kings forward, Nick Shore.
“I thought during the second period the pace picked up,” Thomas Hickey said. “It felt like a bit of a rivalry game even though we do not know that team that well.”
Early in the third period both teams were able to score on special teams. First the Kings scored shorthanded as Tyler Toffoli buried a rebound opportunity. The Islanders responded quickly as Johnny Boychuk blasted a slap shot resulting in a power-play goal.
With two more playoff teams coming to Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders head coach hinted that changes could be on the way.
“I have seen enough of some guys playing with certain guys,” Capuano stated. “I think there is going to be some changes. The chemistry is not there with certain guys right now.”