VANCOUVER, British Columbia - There were no hypnotists scheduled to visit with the Islanders on their day off here Saturday. No life coaches to talk them into a better state of mind before Monday night's game against the Canucks, the last of a four-game Western Canada swing in which the Isles led each of the previous three games after two periods and lost the lead each time.
They are 1-1-1 in those games, 0-1-1 in the last two, in which they've led by two goals after 40 minutes.
"I'm sure they feel like they're cursed right now,'' Jack Capuano said after a high-energy, 75-minute practice at Rogers Arena on Sunday. "They have to know that the way they're working right now, it will start to turn for them. Because they're doing the right things.''
Just not for quite long enough each game.
On Thursday in Edmonton, they led 2-0 after just over 48 minutes in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss. On Friday in Calgary, they were up 3-1 after 51 minutes and change in what became a 4-3 loss.
Capuano said he's pleased with how his players have continued to try to use their speed and aggressiveness even when ahead by two goals, but perhaps a little more caution is required the next time the Islanders have a lead deep into the third period.
"We've just got to be a little smarter in those situations,'' Josh Bailey said. "You don't want to completely sit back, but you don't need to be taking chances late in games with the lead. We've had a couple times when we could have made the safe play and instead the puck ends up in the back of our net.''
With 16 games left in the season, the Islanders aren't realistically looking to get on a roll and move back into the playoff picture. But being known as the team that can't hold a two-goal lead isn't what they're looking for either.
"Don't worry about the score,'' Capuano said, echoing his message to his players on the ice Sunday. "Don't worry about it, don't think about it, just continue to play. We have some young guys here who will be around a long time in this organization, and this is time to learn.''
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