Jack Capuano saw a lot of good things from his team on Saturday, things he hadn't seen during the three-game losing streak the Islanders brought into their game against the red-hot Blackhawks.
For Capuano, it was just a matter of time until his Islanders returned to the way they'd been playing the majority of the season.
"I had no doubts we'd get back on track," Capuano said Sunday after a brief practice in advance of Monday night's game against the Devils at Nassau Coliseum. "We needed to have that attitude, that swagger back and get rid of some self-inflicted wounds we had the past couple games."
The Islanders had given up 17 goals in those three losses, two to the Blues and one to the Wild. Most disturbing were the 11 third-period goals they allowed. The Isles led twice and were tied once heading to the third period in those games and, uncharacteristically for them this season, came away empty-handed in all three. They had been 8-0 when leading after two periods and 10-2 when tied after two.
They were tied heading to the third period on Saturday, then fell behind on Patrick Kane's solo rush and well-placed backhand 3:46 into the third. The Islanders came on strong and kept coming from there, showing the sort of close-game resilience they've shown all season, raising their record to 13-2 in one-goal games.
In addition to better all-around play, there were good signs from a few individual Islanders.
Kyle Okposo scored for the second straight game after going without a goal for 16 straight. "He wants to shoot the puck when it's on his stick and he got that shot off real quick [Saturday] night," Capuano said. "Kyle's been working hard, he's playing physical."
And rookie defenseman Griffin Reinhart, playing only his seventh game, asserted himself well against a very good Blackhawks offense. Given Travis Hamonic's imminent return from injury, Reinhart might not be long for the Islanders in his second stint with the team, but Capuano liked what he saw.
"He used his size well [Saturday] night and he jumped in the rush real well," Capuano said. "Our whole 'D' corps had one of its best games."
Notes & quotes: Hamonic practiced fully Sunday, as did Casey Cizikas. It's possible that both will return Monday night. Johnny Boychuk still is further away from returning . . . Brian Strait (personal reasons) was not at practice and will not be back for Monday night's game.