Lack of power play riles coach, players
The Islanders may have halted their dreadful 14-game winless streak last week, but they are toiling with yet another streak that is only slightly less embarrassing.
In their 2-0 loss to the Rangers Friday night at Madison Square Garden, the Islanders failed to score a power-play goal for a 10th straight game. They are 0-for-32 in that span, which has lasted almost an entire month.
After the team's latest loss - which featured two unsuccessful power-play attempts - coach Jack Capuano foreshadowed change for the hapless unit.
"I'm not going to waste around [time] with the same personnel," Capuano said. "If guys aren't willing to do it, other guys are going to play. We've gone over this. I don't mind not scoring on the power play as long as they're doing what we ask. I don't care if it's five defensemen or five rookies at this point."
Capuano told Newsday he won't hesitate to use defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic more from the point if the team's other players up top aren't willing to get shots through.
Power-play quarterback James Wisniewski did not have a single shot Friday night.
"We need guys up top to shoot the puck, not try to be playmakers," Capuano said.
Conversely, it took the Rangers only one successful power-play attempt as they gained their second win of the home-and-home against the Islanders.
"Their power play decides the game," Capuano said. "We had opportunities, we had guys at the net and we just didn't want to throw pucks there for whatever reason."
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist barely had to work for his shutout, turning away 17 shots. Lundqvist did make a stellar stick save to thwart one prime power-play opportunity by the Islanders.
"I'm tired of repeating myself, we've got to score," said the Islanders' P.A. Parenteau, a former Ranger. "We moved the puck pretty well but we forced a few things. We need better shots."
In another lackluster first period for the Islanders - they failed to register a shot on goal until 14:58 into play - questionable penalties made the officiating the most compelling storyline.
First, there was a phantom roughing call on Rangers agitator Sean Avery. Less than two minutes after Avery went to the box - he also received a 10-minute unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty - the Islanders' Jon Sim was whistled for goaltender interference, although he was clearly pushed into Lundqvist.
In the next period, Sim incurred another goaltender-interference penalty - this one legitimate - and the Rangers cashed in for a 1-0 lead at 4:33 on Marc Staal's slap shot.
In the third period, Brian Boyle added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds remaining for the final margin.
'Their goal was on the power play so we have to find a way to get one through, too," John Tavares said. "These are games when you learn how to win and those are big parts of the game."