The frustration level is growing inside the Islanders’ dressing room. It was palpable after their 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday at the Nassau Coliseum. The loss was the fourth straight for the Islanders and their ninth in their last 11 contests.
“It’s the same thing again,” said captain John Tavares who was clearly upset by the team’s performance. “We want to give teams 3-0 leads and we don’t engage in the way we need to play until we’re down. Until we figure that out we’re not going to give ourselves too many opportunities to be in good positions to win…We need more.”
Neither then Islanders nor the Jets played outstanding hockey but after a scoreless first period, the Jets got goals from Mark Stuart, Andrew Ladd and Devin Setoguchi to take a 3-0 lead with just 3:18 left in the second period. The second goal by Ladd was particularly vexing as the Jets made four straight cross ice passes to set up an easy tap in while the Islanders were caught flat-footed in their own zone.
Andrew MacDonald’s power play blast from the left point with 2:11 left in the second period pulled the Islanders to within 3-1 after two periods but the damage had been done.
“It’s just not good enough,” Tavares continued. “Our intensity and the little things that make a big difference in a game like taking hits to make plays, we’re just not doing. We’re not creating our breaks or opportunities, it seems we’re just waiting for them to happen and they’re not going to come until we give a consistent effort each and every shift.”
Tavares managed to make it a one-goal game with a brilliant individual effort at the 14:01 mark of the third period when he outmuscled the left defenseman and poked the puck past ex-Islanders goalie Al Montoya to make it 3-2. The Islanders had several chances to tie the game down the stretch but did not get the bounces they needed to send the game to overtime.
Montoya was very happy with the way his team hung on for the win. “We knew they were going to come, especially when they scored that late power play goal in the second period,”the Jets’ netminder said. “It was an exciting night for everybody. Coming in here and getting two huge points, we needed them and they needed them, it’s unbelievable. I’m speechless.”
To Tavares, consistency remains a big issue for his club. “Things are not going to go our way all the time and we need to bear down the next couple of shifts to get some momentum back and get back to the way we need to play and we’re not doing a good job of that and it’s killing us. We’re putting ourselves behind the eight-ball. There’s just not enough there and it finally leads to some breakdowns and it’s costing us a lot of game and a lot of opportunities.”
Coach Jack Capuano was also frustrated after the game. ”We have character guys in our room and I know if they keep working, we will turn this around,” Capuano said. ”When you don’t get results, it’s tough mentally. You just have to find a way out of it.”
The Islanders return to action on Friday afternoon when the host the Detroit Red Wings at 4:00 PM. The Islanders will hold their annual food drive at the game.
Attendance was 12,008.
Andrew MacDonald led all players with 30:16 of ice time. The Isles remain without defensemen Lubomir Visnovksy and Brian Strait. Radek Martinek, Colin McDonald and Eric Boulton were also out of the lineup.
The Islanders are now 0-12-1 this season when they score two or fewer goals in a game.
Casey Cizikas’ five-game points streak came to a close.
Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with six hits while Matt Martin added five.