Islanders look to rebound quickly
There was no yelling, no harsh words, no punishment skates. The Islanders laid an egg Saturday night in front of a sold-out Nassau Coliseum, but they are one game into the season.
"It's certainly no time to panic," Brian Rolston said after a very normal hour of practice Sunday at the Coliseum in preparation for Monday's 1 p.m. matinee against the Wild. "Tomorrow's a new day."
Jack Capuano's only bit of advice was for his players to forget their 2-0 loss to the Panthers on Saturday, but they will need to remember to do things differently in the opening 20 minutes. The Islanders forgot many of the maxims Capuano and his staff drilled into them during training camp.
The Panthers played a simple, straightforward game, dumping pucks in and disrupting plays in the neutral zone. The Islanders spent too much time looking for plays rather than making them, and that made the hosts look a step slow all night.
"They know all that stuff. They know they have to get pucks to the net," Capuano said. "They know what mistakes they made last night, and it's good we get right back out there to play tomorrow."
The Islanders' defense had a particularly tough time withstanding the Panthers' forecheck. It was Mark Streit's first game in 18 months and the first game after season-ending hip surgeries for three other defensemen: Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau and Andrew MacDonald. All four struggled to get in sync.
The slow start, plus a couple of late first-period goals by Florida, left the already disjointed Islanders trying to do too much to get back in the game. "You need to have good starts to avoid falling into those bad habits," John Tavares said. "It's nice we get back out there quickly."
Al Montoya (27 saves) had a solid night in goal, but Capuano said he hadn't chosen a starter for Monday's game as of early Sunday afternoon. Goaltending wasn't the problem Saturday, however.
"We came out flat for whatever reason, and it's on to the next game," Rolston said. "You have to know it's a long season. We don't want to repeat what we did, but we know it's one game."
Notes & quotes: MacDonald (hip surgery) did not practice Sunday but is expected to play Monday . . . D Milan Jurcina (groin) left practice early and might have suffered a setback in his recovery.