As the losses have piled up for the Islanders, now at seven in the last 10 games (3-7-0), they seem to blur together with indiscretions of the past, from a time when the Islanders were a team of much lower expectations than they are now.
Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Kings, a game the Islanders led 2-0 after two mostly solid periods, was one such defeat. The players took it hard after giving up the winning goal with 1:33 left; the coach chose to look at what his team did well enough to grab that lead rather than excoriate his players.
"We didn't change anything in the third period," Jack Capuano said of Thursday's loss, the third time in seven games (4-2-1) the Isles have been defeated when leading after two periods. Those three losses equal the Isles' total for all of the 48-game 2012-13 season when leading after two (16-2-1), highlighting that the current team is finding ways to give away points as they did when John Tavares first arrived on Long Island in 2009.
The Red Wings come to the Coliseum Saturday night for the first of two visits in a two-week span. Detroit was in the Western Conference the past three decades so this will mark the most Coliseum games for them since the 1991-92 season.
The Isles would love to lean on a different bit of recent history on Saturday: They haven't lost in regulation (5-0-1) to the Wings, home or away, since the 2004-05 lockout ended.
Thomas Vanek (upper body) practiced again on Friday and should be ready to return on Saturday. Tavares played through a bruised right hip on Thursday, when he had an assist but no shots on goal for the first time in 69 games. He also skated on Friday and will surely play on Saturday as well.