Islanders search for scoring answers

The Jets shutout the Isles 3-0 at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday

Thursday, 11.3.2011 / 10:56 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Islanders search for scoring answers

With a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders extended their winless streak to six games as they continued to struggle to light the lamp.

“We just have to find a way to get on the scoreboard, that’s really the key right now,” Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. “It all comes down to the end of the game. It was a one goal game. We should definitely have more than enough goals to win. There was one lucky bounce and an empty-netter and it’s a 3-0 game. It doesn’t really show the type of game it actually was.”

The Islanders dominated play in the second period outshooting the Jets by a 3:1 margin, and 28-14 through the first 40 minutes, completing 60-minutes of hockey leading shots 34-26 as six Islanders players recorded three shots each. Matt Martin recorded nine hits, Tavares won 11-of-20 faceoffs.

Josh Bailey lines up Tanner Glass at Nassau Coliseum on November 3, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Eighteen seconds into the third period, sophomore defenseman Travis Hamonic tried to spark something extra in the Isles as he dropped the gloves with Evander Kane.

“Obviously, I preach that you fight for a few reasons and trying to spark the team is one of the main ones,” Hamonic said. “I found a willing combatant in Evander Kane, he’s a tough kid and I think he wanted to go as well, so I just tried to do it for those reasons.”

But the fact is, goals win games and the Islanders couldn’t convert for even one.

As a result, Head Coach Jack Capuano said it’s time to make some changes before the Islanders play their next game at home Saturday against the Washington Capitals. He said he gave the players – who meshed well and put up big numbers in the second half of last season – adequate time to adjust and build chemistry in the first 10 games, but that something needs to change.

“You have to score goals and I’m not going to keep harping on it, but they have to find a way to get it done,” Capuano said. “So I’m probably going to change some lines, do some different things, going into Washington.”

The Isles haven’t scored an even-strength goal in 139:15 of play, as the last goal scored 5-on-5 was Martin’s first of the season in the team’s shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 27. The Islanders scored two power play goals in their OT loss to the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 29.

By far the most productive line, the Matt Moulson-John Tavares-PA Parenteau line had early success. Tavares put up consecutive four-point nights to climb to the top of the league’s scoring charts. Since then, the line has continued to create chances, but have not scored 5-on-5 since Tavares notched his first hat trick of the season in the Isles 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 15.

Not including that top line, five players have converted for a goal this season. Michael Grabner (three), Frans Nielsen (two), Martin, Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald combine for eight goals, just one goal more than Tavares and two less than the top line’s 10 goals in the first 10 games.

Matt Moulson looks for scoring opportunities around the paint and takes pressure from Brett Festerling and Zach Bogosian at Nassau Coliseum on November 3, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“We have some guys in there that have obviously put some numbers up in the past, but I think you have to want it a little bit more,” Capuano said. “I think whatever you are doing, it’s a game of inches and if maybe you just work a little bit harder in certain areas you’ll get there. But that’s what we are looking for.”

Capuano continued, “As a coach you start to play the guys you have to play. We have given guys an opportunity now to see what they can do, but the bottom line is minutes don’t mean anything to me anymore, we have to win games.”

Winning games starts with generating more offensive chances.

As for solving the scoring woes, Hamonic said, “There’s no other answer about it than working hard. You can’t let yourself off the hook and we can’t let each other off the hook, that’s part of holding each other accountable and the only way we are going to get through this is hard work.”

Bailey said the best way to move forward is having “short-term memories.”

“We are certainly not worried with this team we have in the room,” Bailey said. “We believe in what we have in this room. That’s no joke, when we say that, we truly mean it. It’s not just something being tossed around. I think we have been practicing hard, working hard and doing the things we need to do and it’s just a matter of getting some results. If we keep doing the things we are doing, it’ll come.”

For now, keeping positive seems to be the key.

Notes: Evander Kane scored the Jets game-winner 4:21 into the first period; five minute later, he would come up empty on a penalty shot. Then, with less than four minutes remaining in the third period, Johnny Oduya scored to propel the Jets ahead 2-0 and Alexander Burmistrov provided the final margin on an empty net at 17:44.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
M. Neuvirth 1 3 1 .881 2.94

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