Winnipeg shuts out frustrated Islanders
They threw enough shots on net and gave enough effort -- for much of the night, anyway.
But the Islanders aren't getting enough results, and now their coach has seen enough. The 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum was the Islanders' third shutout loss in 10 games and left them winless in their last six (0-4-2).
"I don't know what to think," Jack Capuano said after his team threw 34 shots on net and had another 33 blocked or go wide.
Ondrej Pavelec was very good in stopping all 34, including 19 in the second period, but this was a game the Islanders had to have.
"You've got to score goals," Capuano said. "You've got to find a way to get it done. We'll change some lines, do some different things heading into [Saturday's] Washington game."
After last season went down the tubes in the 1-17-3 slide from late October to just before Christmas, the Islanders showed some pluck and electricity by being able to skate and score.
They have all those same players, but they're flubbing loose pucks or chipping rebounds high. The John Tavares-Matt Moulson-P.A. Parenteau and Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner-Kyle Okposo lines have been mainstays since the end of last season, but with his team having scored only 10 even-strength goals in 10 games, Capuano seemed ready to reconfigure.
"We've given guys a chance to play with people they've been successful with in the past, but something isn't working," he said.
Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau and Brian Rolston totaled seven shots on goal and created plenty of chances, but the line has produced zero even-strength points as a trio. Midway through the second, with the Islanders down a goal, Comeau forced a turnover at his own blue line and started a three-on-two rush. He fed Bailey, the trailer, who passed back to an unsuspecting Comeau, whose angled shot knuckled off Pavelec's blocker and skittered wide.
With 10 NHL scouts scattered around the press box -- Comeau, on a one-year, $2.3-million contract, would be the likeliest trade target, even though the season isn't even a month old -- the line continued to play hard but out of sync.
"It's tough to get too, too down, because you know there are opportunities," Bailey said. "We need to get results."
Rolston had a golden chance in the first minute after some loose defensive-zone play by the Jets, who were missing three regular defensemen. His shot, like the next three Islanders attempts from good positions, went wide.
At 4:21, the Jets' Evander Kane started a harmless rush into the Isles' zone and Andrew MacDonald blocked his first two shots, but Comeau didn't body Kane out of the way, and he swept a backhand behind Rick DiPietro to open the scoring. For the second straight game, DiPietro allowed a goal on the first shot against him. And again, it wasn't his fault.
He fought some soft shots in the third as the Jets, having been outshot 19-6 in the second, rope-a-doped their way back to life. Johnny Oduya's sharp-angle shot caromed in with 3:56 left, sending a booing crowd home without a goal for the third time in seven home games.
"It's imperative we don't get down on ourselves," Rolston said. "We had enough opportunities tonight, we just have to be better. But it's not a time to be down, and that will be reiterated in this room."
There is enough leadership, enough talent. Even the unhappy coach felt there was enough effort. But not enough results.