All work makes Mark Streit a tired captain
WINNIPEG, Canada -- Mark Streit was named Islanders captain before the season in part for his ability to lead by example. Of late, that example has not been worth following. Streit has had a shaky few weeks, reaching a low point Dec. 10th against Pittsburgh when he was a minus-3 and had trouble handling simple passes.
He had a couple of other errors the last two games that led to goals, mistakes that are very unlike the usually steady Streit. He was out of position on a penalty kill in the third period Thursday against the Stars, who scored an easy power-play goal to tie the game early in the third.
A few minutes later, Streit left his point to hunt around for a loose puck near the Stars' net, allowing an odd-man breakout and the eventual game-winner. Then his giveaway Saturday in St. Paul, Minn., led to the Wild's only goal. Coach Jack Capuano felt compelled to have a rare chat with him, asking Streit to simplify his game.
"Guys like Streiter and Johnny [Tavares], they care so much and want to win so bad, sometimes it makes them do too much," Capuano said Friday morning as a handful of Islanders -- Streit among them -- took an optional morning skate in preparation for Tuesday night's game with the Jets.
"It's just a matter of, sometimes less is more," Capuano said of Streit, who has one assist and a minus-3 rating over the last five games. "He does what captains do: He wants to win. But you can try to overthink things when you want to put the team on your back."
Streit said he's completely healthy after missing last season because of shoulder surgery, but the health of the rest of the defensive could have had an effect on Streit the last three weeks.
He never looked comfortable paired with Travis Hamonic while Andrew MacDonald missed time with a leg bruise, and Streit also was forced to play a few extra minutes on the penalty kill and occasionally on both power-play units as the quarterback.
"You want to help the team, but when you try to do too much, it usually goes the other way on you," Streit said. "I'd obviously like to be doing a little more offensively, but you can't take any chances like what happened against Dallas."
The power play had been clicking under Streit's direction in a recent 4-0-2 streak, but since the end of that run, the Isles are on a 1-for-20 slide on the power play. Streit's tentative play was a big reason as the unit runs through him in the opposing zone.
"It's been pretty poor of late," Streit said. "Special teams make a big difference in our game. [Before the win over the Wild on Saturday], we had 3-4 games where we could have won if the [power play] had gotten a goal or two."
Goalie Al Montoya took a stick to the head from the Jets' Evander Kane last night and was helped off to the dressing room with 1:20 left in the second period of a 2-2 game. Montoya stayed down for two minutes before slowly skating off with trainer Garrett Timms. Evgeni Nabokov, who hasn't played since injuring his groin on Nov. 17, came on in relief.