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Making the necessary adjustments

The Islanders must be more disciplined moving forward, following a Game 3 in which Pittsburgh went 3-for-5 on the power play

Monday, 05.06.2013 / 3:50 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Making the necessary adjustments
The Islanders must be more disciplined moving forward, following a Game 3 in which Pittsburgh went 3-for-5 on the power play
A big part of keeping the Penguins' power play at bay, Andrew MacDonald says, is to cut down on taking bad penalties (Photo: Getty Images).

After allowing three goals to the Penguins power play in Game 3, the Islanders focus in Monday’s team meetings was staying out of the penalty box in Game 4.

“We’ve got to be more disciplined - there’s no question,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “[Pittsburgh] has gotten quite a few goals on the power play. The penalty kill is something we’ve got to clean up. But discipline with and without the puck is a big part of the game, and with their quickness we’ve got to make sure we defend a little bit harder and a little bit smarter.”

The Islanders took six minor penalties in Game 3’s 5-4 overtime loss, and have been on the penalty kill 13 times in the series (4.3 times per game), a significant uptick from their regular season average of less than three times per game. As a result, the Pittsburgh power play, which ranked second in the NHL during the regular season at 24.7%, has struck six times during the series.

“Our penalty kill has to be better,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “The best way to do that is to stay out of the box and not take the undisciplined penalties. Those can end up killing us. There’s a lot of things that play into it, but first and foremost, you’ve got to be mentally aware of not taking a bad penalty. You have to realize that you’re putting your team at a disadvantage. Being in the right positions, being aware and keeping our feet moving are going to be keys going into Game 4.”

Emotions have run high in the series, as the physical play has amped up from the regular season. Often times, one hard hit results in a retaliatory shot from an opposing player, and that’s something Travis Hamonic says the Islanders need to be wary of going forward.

“There’s obviously a fine line to cross, and you don’t want to get caught up in the emotion of the game and do something stupid,” Hamonic said. “It seems like the retaliatory hits are always the ones that get called, it’s not the first ones. Obviously their power play is going pretty well right now, and as a group collectively I think we’ve got to do a better job with discipline all over the ice and within our system as well.”

As Hamonic continued to explain, that doesn’t mean lightening up on the physical play. It just means being able to toe the line between right and wrong.

“When we have an opportunity to be tough on them and hit them, we need to be hard in the corners and grind them down,” Hamonic said. “We can still do a little bit better of a job with that. Obviously you’ve got to watch the fine line that you’re on and try not to cross it.”

The coaching staff also went over some different tactics for the penalty kill moving forward. After going through video meetings Monday morning, it was clear the Islanders have a plan for the Penguins power play this time around.

But good luck getting that information out of Hamonic.

“I don’t want to share secrets,” Hamonic said. “But there’s some areas that we know internally, we have to improve on. We want to keep that amongst each other right now.”

Game 4 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum. If the Islanders win, they will tie the series at two games apiece, guaranteeing at least a Game 6 back at the Coliseum on May 11.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
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10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
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12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 66 31 36 5 67
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 66 14 28 22 42
B. Nelson 66 18 20 8 38
F. Nielsen 66 11 26 13 37
A. Lee 60 22 13 14 35
J. Bailey 54 13 20 13 33
J. Boychuk 56 7 25 15 32
N. Leddy 66 9 19 17 28
T. Hamonic 56 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 34 13 1 .911 2.48
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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