Islanders' line changes not yet apparent

New York Islanders' Frans Nielsen (51) celebrates his New York Islanders' Frans Nielsen (51) celebrates his goal with teammate Michael Grabner (40) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Oct. 27, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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There were no new forward lines for the Islanders' practice Friday at IceWorks -- about the only new thing was piped-in classic rock, courtesy of Jack Capuano, who wanted to loosen things up a bit with his frustrated team -- but Capuano promised that changes will come in time for Saturday night's visit from the Capitals.

"If he does it, I definitely understand," said Frans Nielsen, whose line with Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo likely will be broken up for the game. "We haven't done enough lately."

One other new wrinkle to try to end the Islanders' six-game winless streak came right after Thursday night's 3-0 loss to the Jets at Nassau Coliseum. First-year captain Mark Streit closed the dressing-room doors to the coaches and spoke to his teammates for a few minutes.

"We keep those talks in-house," Okposo said, "but we just need to find a way to win a game. That's the frustrating thing, that this comes at the beginning of the season, when you don't really have anything good to fall back on yet."

Streit does not seem capable of paint-peeling rants, so it's no surprise that this was a positive talk. He left IceWorks early Friday to take his family -- including Frida Krebs, Streit's 96-year-old grandmother, who made her first visit to North America this week -- on a tour of the city. But his teammates reminded that this is no time to beat themselves up, even if thoughts of last season's 1-17-3 slide right around this same time are starting to creep in.

"We just kept losing last year," Nielsen said. "It's crucial right now that we find a way to win, however we can. If we hang our heads, it won't change."

But there will be changes among the forwards, who haven't produced enough. P.A. Parenteau might be moved off John Tavares' wing and the Josh Bailey-Blake Comeau-Brian Rolston line also likely will be broken up, given that it hasn't produced a single point as a unit yet.

"I feel good about the systems," Capuano said. "I don't think we need to make a lot of changes. We just need to tinker with some things and try to win a game."

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