The Islanders players and Jack Capuano didn’t say that Tuesday’s 6-1 blowout loss to the Lightning was indicative of anything deeper than a bad night against a team that came in hungry.
But falling behind by six goals in the opening 31:19 of play may be the sort of ugliness that prompts a change or two before the Isles return tO Barclays Center ice to face the Flyers on Thursday.
The Isles felt frustrated by Calvin de Haan being called for an interference major for a hit on Jonathan Drouin just 1:42 into the game, which was quickly followed by Ryan Strome taking a delay of game penalty. Nikita Kucherov scored the first of his two power-play goals on a four on three at 3:21 and the game quickly got away from the Islanders.
“You’re sitting on the bench for a long time with those power plays and then you get out there and you’re stone cold, trying to get something going,” John Tavares said. “We’re obviously not happy with the call. They’ve got arguably the most lethal power play in the league.”
Kucherov connected again at 12:18 of the first, then Steven Stamkos tapped one past Thomas Greiss at 13:34 to end Greiss’ night after three goals on 11 shots. Jaroslav Halak came in but the shooting gallery continued into the second.
Brian Boyle scored off the rush at 6:17. J.T. Brown scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 9:30. And Valteri Filppula scored on a puck that hopped over Halak’s head, bounced down and over the goal line at 11:19 of the second, bringing some Lightning hats onto the ice from visiting fans who thought Kucherov had completed his hat trick.
There were scattered chants of “Fire Cappy!” throughout the first two periods as well while the Islanders looked lost on the ice, outshot 30-12 after 40 minutes.
“Not the first time it’s happened, right?” Capuano said. “I know what we’ve accomplished the last three years. I know our record. That has no effect on me or the team.”
Dennis Seidenberg got the Isles on the board with 29.6 seconds left in the second but the third period was exclusively garbage time. The Islanders are 4-6-0 in a season that was supposed to be a smooth transition to a new group of core players with three longtime forwards having moved on in the summer.
But it’s been far too inconsistent and Tuesday was certainly the low point. Asked for a word or two to sum it up, Travis Hamonic offered, “Frustrating. With an expletive in front.”
With grumblings recently about the three goaltenders on the roster and the major struggle of big-name free agent signee Andrew Ladd, who still has no goals and one assist to start his Isles career, it seems general manager Garth Snow may need to jolt his team to life as the season gets moving and teams start to separate themselves.
“You always try to learn from it, but it’s a long season and there’s a lot of games still coming up,” Tavares said. “We’ve got to put it behind us.”
Notes & quotes: Stamkos appeared to have a goal on the power play at 6:24 of the first but the Islanders successfully challenged for offsides on a play 15 seconds earlier . . . Mathew Barzal and Alan Quine were the healthy scratches. Anthony Beauvillier played his ninth game, meaning his next game will activate the first year of his contract.