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Islanders search for scoring answers

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

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 10:56 PM / 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.




1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31


J. Tavares 47 22 24 -1 46
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 47 9 25 17 34
B. Nelson 47 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 47 9 17 5 26
J. Boychuk 37 4 20 17 24
J. Bailey 35 8 14 9 22
N. Leddy 47 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 47 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 41 13 5 8 18
J. Halak 26 9 0 .913 2.37
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38 is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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