Isles playing hard despite losing streak

Ryan Callahan of the Rangers and Mark Streit

Ryan Callahan of the Rangers and Mark Streit of the Islanders jostle for the puck. (Feb. 7, 2013) (Credit: David Pokress)

Even though the Islanders are carrying a five-game losing streak into the city for Thursday night's matchup with the Rangers, there isn't a feeling among the players that all is lost yet.

To a man, the Islanders and coach Jack Capuano don't believe they've played poorly during this stretch, certainly not over long periods. The only game in which they were consistently outworked, though, was the one at Madison Square Garden seven days ago.

Rangers rookie J.T. Miller scored on the team's first shot on Evgeni Nabokov in a 4-1 Islanders defeat, a game that was easily their most listless of the first 12 this season.

"It's not even the case that we're playing horribly," Mark Streit said. "We're playing hard, but maybe not that smart at some times."

Most of those times being at even strength. The Islanders are tied for fifth in the NHL on the power play (25.5 percent) and fourth in the league in penalty killing (89.5 percent), but the major failings during this losing streak have been at five-on-five -- the Islanders have scored nine goals in the five losses, and John Tavares and Matt Moulson have scored five of those.

That's good for them, but bad for the depth of scoring assistance that helped get the Islanders out to a 4-2-1 start.

"We all have to be better, we all have to work together and we're only going to get out of this when we do it together," said Tavares, who is tied for 10th in the league with 15 points. "It's not going to be one guy or one line. We need everyone going. When we have that, we're a pretty good team."

Notes & quotes:Josh Bailey remained on the second line with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo for a second day of practice. Those three had a good run at the end of last season. Evgeni Nabokov will start in goal Thursday night.

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