The Winning Combination

Jack Capuano's line alterations for Game 2 paid off in a big way

Saturday, 05.4.2013 / 4:43 PM ET / News
By Travis Betts
X
Share with your Friends


The Winning Combination
Jack Capuano\'s line alterations for Game 2 paid off in a big way

After being shutout in Game 1 at Pittsburgh, the Islanders had to shake things up.

Throughout the regular season, Jack Capuano didn’t experiment with a lot of forward line combinations, so the line juggling he did in Game 2 was a surprise to many. Matt Moulson, who has played alongside John Tavares for almost every game over the past four seasons, was moved onto a unit with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo. Josh Bailey joined Tavares and Brad Boyes on the top line.

The result was a 4-3 victory, as well as an all-around improved effort, that evened up the series at a game apiece and shifted home ice advantage into the Islanders favor.

“We scored two goals in the last three games,” Capuano said, factoring the last two games of the regular season. ”Going down the stretch, [a lineup change] was something that we had been thinking about for a while. There’s not a lot of time when you’re in a series to be very patient. You have to find what’s clicking. Even during the course of a game, if we have to make changes right off the bat, we will.”

The Islanders cranked 20 shots in the opening period and maintained pressure throughout, outshooting the Penguins 42-33 overall. Moulson credited the line change, as well as the wake-up call of a Game 1 shutout, for the turnaround Friday.

“I don’t know if that was the sole cause of it, but sometimes a little change is good,” Moulson said. “I think just knowing how big a game it was, guys played individually a lot better than we did in the first game. I don’t think any of us had really good performances in Game 1, and we wanted to come out and make sure that didn’t happen again.”

The only game this season that Tavares and Moulson didn’t play on the same line was April 6 vs. Tampa Bay, the night Moulson was scratched with the flu. The winger, who paced the team with 29 assists during the regular season, said that it took a few shifts Friday to get used to playing with different line mates.

Matt Moulson
Left Wing - NYI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 5 | +/-: 0
“When you play with a line for the whole year, you get to know each other really well,” Moulson said. “Just getting to know the little tendencies with each guy makes a big difference.”

The 29-year-old responded to the challenge by earning First Star honors with a goal and an assist on Okposo’s game-winning tally. His hard charge toward the net forced Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to lose control of the puck. Moulson had a front row seat as Okposo’s game-winner crossed the line.

“Okie put it off the boards and I tried to get to the net,” Moulson said. “I was hoping it was going to pop out or go to the side, but Fleury hid it, and as I was skating past the net, I could see it trickling past the goal line.”

Likewise, Bailey provided some jump to his new line. He registered 20:19 of ice time, his second-highest total of the season. The Bailey-Tavares-Boyes trio combined for 23 shot attempts, including 13 on goal.

“They’re pretty easy guys to play with - Johnny and Brad are tremendous players,” Bailey said. “No matter who I’m playing with, it doesn’t change my job individually. I still have to do a lot of the same things. Obviously the coaching staff was looking for something to shake things up. It seemed to work last night.”

Tavares bounced back from a disappointing Game 1, generating several scoring chances and earning his first postseason point: a power play assist in the first period.

“It was obviously different playing with Josh, but he brings a lot of creativity and he’s played great for us down the stretch,” Tavares said. “We created some good plays and made ourselves tough to defend. I think everybody up and down the lineup had more scoring chances.”

As usual, Capuano isn’t tipping his hand on if he will go with the same lines in Sunday’s Game 3. With a chance to take a series lead, he won’t be afraid to make whatever changes he feels necessary at any stage of the game.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
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
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com 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.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use