RALEIGH, N.C. - With the sudden defensive decline of Tuesday's game behind them, the Islanders assessed and moved on here Wednesday.
"What we tried to talk to them about was putting that last shift behind them," Jack Capuano said after the Islanders practiced at Raleigh Center Ice with Thursday's game against the Hurricanes on the horizon. "For me, [Tuesday] was the first time all year I didn't think we channeled our energy the right way. There was a lot of frustration on the bench and I thought it carried over."
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There was enough good from the Isles on Tuesday to seize on as well -- a 1-0 lead after one, three minutes of sustained pressure to open the second before the train ran off the track with five Capitals goals, three of them on the power play, in a 14:12 span.
The Islanders go into the Carolina game at 6-6-3, still somehow good enough for third place in the Metropolitan Division. They fired 57 shots on goal in a shootout win in Ottawa on Friday and followed that up with a smart, full performance to beat the Bruins the following night.
So all is not lost. They are bothered by injuries, especially on defense. Matt Donovan (hip) sat out practice Wednesday and may miss tonight's game, so the Isles will recall Aaron Ness from Bridgeport. He played nine games with the Isles in 2011-12.
Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) also missed practice, though there is less urgency among the forwards. Colin McDonald, who has missed five straight with a hip injury, is set to return.
But no matter who is in the lineup, the Islanders don't feel hamstrung. In fact, Frans Nielsen said that the frustration that permeated the bench in D.C. comes from a place of confidence.
"We're a good enough team where we should all be really frustrated when we're down two goals, to any team," Nielsen said. "We should be angry. I think it's not good we lost that game, obviously, but it's a good thing when guys are [upset]. We know we're better than that."
Notes & quotes: Evgeni Nabokov, who was in for all six Caps goals on Tuesday, stayed on ice at practice for some extra work, leading to further belief that Kevin Poulin will get the call in goal against Carolina.