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Kyle Okposo wants Islanders to raise play at home

Mikhail Grabovski #84, Thomas Hickey #14 and Kyle

Mikhail Grabovski #84, Thomas Hickey #14 and Kyle Okposo #21 of the New York Islanders skate off the ice after a 4-3 loss against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Islanders learned a bit about themselves on the down-and-up trip (two losses followed by three wins) that concluded Saturday with a 1-0 victory over the Coyotes in Arizona.

They'd like to learn even more at home, such as how to win there consistently.

"You have to take care of business at home,'' Kyle Okposo said after the Islanders practiced at IceWorks Monday for Tuesday night's game against the Avalanche at Nassau Coliseum. "It wasn't always pretty or fun to watch the last few games on the road, but that's how you win in this league. We've been guilty of trying to be overly fancy, maybe, at home.''

Whatever the reasons, the Islanders' home record in the past two-plus seasons hasn't been good. Including this season's 3-2-0 record, the Islanders are 26-32-12 at the Coliseum since the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Their 64 home points are the third-fewest in the NHL during that span, two better than the Sabres and Panthers and just behind the Oilers (65) and Hurricanes (68).

But the Islanders made the playoffs in 2012-13; none of those other four teams did so during the last two seasons.

That disparity speaks to the Islanders' ability to win on the road -- Saturday's win gave them a 6-3-0 road record this season, 41-27-6 since the start of 2012-13 -- and, as Okposo noted, an ability to win them in any fashion necessary. The Isles pulled out one-goal wins in Anaheim, Los Angeles and Glendale after each game was tied in the third.

"We have to realize at home that if it's 0-0 or 1-1 in the third, that's fine,'' Frans Nielsen said. "I think maybe we come out in front of our fans thinking we have to dominate and be up early, and if it doesn't happen, we sit back a little. It has to be defense first, at home and on the road.''

The Islanders allowed at least three goals in all five Coliseum games this season and 12 goals in the second periods. Those are trends they managed to get under control the past three games away from home. To be the sort of team that scares opponents, they have to be able to do it on home ice.

"That's what the good teams do,'' Okposo said. "We feel like this is a different group than we've had in the past, and we've won games the right way. We're learning how to be that type of team.''

Notes & quotes: Johnny Boychuk missed practice to have his lower-body injury evaluated, but Jack Capuano said the news was good and that there's a chance he can play Tuesday night. Boychuk sat out Saturday's game after taking a knee-on-knee hit Thursday from the Kings' Kyle Clifford . . . Josh Bailey (broken hand) practiced fully. Capuano ruled him out for Tuesday night but he could return by Friday against the Panthers in Florida.

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