Islanders hoping to keep losses from snowballing


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Back-to-back losses are nothing new to the Islanders.

For the old Islanders losses were usually something that came in bunches, but the new squad doesn’t want that to be the case this season. Losing streaks have crippled the Isles in the past and they have now dropped their last two games — including a bad loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

“We have a different standard in this dressing room now. This wasn’t good enough” Travis Hamonic said following the 5-2 loss to Toronto. He was referring to the effort the Islanders put forth, but it is safe to say that his statement can apply to keeping losses from turning into losing streaks.

“We’ve had our fair share of that in the past,” Hamonic said referring to seasons snowballing out of control. “We have to make it our mission not to let it happen again.”

The loss to Toronto was the ugliest so far in the young season, but Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano was not overly agitated following the loss. Capuano had been quick to point out things his team and specific players needed to work on following several of the Islanders’ wins, but tried staying positive following the loss. To read more of this story, click here

Islanders fall 5-2 in bad loss to Maple Leafs

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Every good run has to come to an end at some point.

For the Islanders, that came Tuesday night in their 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs outplayed the Islanders in one of their worst second period USATSI_8155835_110579513_lowresperformances of the young season and drove Jaroslav Halak from net after forty minutes. Halak gave up five goals on 23 shots.

“I think everybody needs to be a little bit better and it starts with me,” Halak told reporters after the loss. ” I need to be better and everybody outward needs to be better. Especially in the second period. I mean that shouldn’t happen, but we have to learn from it. It’s a long season and we have another tough game coming up. We just need to be ready.”

The Islanders certainly need to be ready for their next comest — a Thursday meeting with the Boston Bruins in Bean Town — but Tuesday’s loss was certainly a sobering one. The Isles had played good hockey for much of their first five games. Saturday’s loss to the Penguins was not their best performance, but they played well enough to hold their heads up after the game.

After Tuesday’s game they know they need to bounce back.

“It’s a long season,” John Tavares said afterwards. “After four games we weren’t winning the Stanley Cup and after six we’re not winning it, so it’s a long season. Obviously we’re disappointed with our effort and our overall game, but tomorrow is a day to get better. We have a couple big games this week so we have to be ready.”

The Islanders held a lead twice on Tuesday, but both times the Maple Leafs’ top line answered back and eventually put the game out of reach in the second. Toronto outshot the Islanders 13-7 in the second period and controlled the play.

“We were just easy to play against,” Tavares said about the second period performance. “We were just soft on pucks. We stopped moving our feet and we were just an easy team to play against. Obviously they have some guys that can score some goals and they just executed better than we did.”

The Islanders will look to quickly correct their mistakes when they battle the Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday.

Recap: Maple Leafs 5, Islanders 2

Recap: The Maple Leafs used four second period goals and went on to beat the Islanders 5-2 at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Need to know: The Islanders led 2-1 after the first period before everything caved in. The Maple Leafs scored four straight goals in the second quarter, two of them by Phil Kessel and single goals from Roman Polak and David Clarkson to take control. It was a far cry from the first period when Nick Leddy gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead 2:48 in. Toronto tied it up on a James Riemsdyk goal six minutes later. The Islanders exited the first period with a 2-1 lead when John Tavares scored on a power-play. Then came the second period, when things collapsed on the Islanders.  Jaroslav Halak faced 23 shots in two periods and was lifted for Chad Johnson in the third period for the Islanders.

Links: Box | Gameview

Next up: The Islanders head to Boston to play the Bruins on Thursday.

Game Day (6): Maple Leafs at Islanders, 7 pm

Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
TV: MSG Plus 2 Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Maple Leafs… Toronto is looking to halt a two game losing streak. The Leafs dropped a pair of games in a home and home with the Detroit Red Wings… The Maple Leafs have killed off 15 consecutive penalties since their October 11 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins… The Leafs are without David Booth, Cody Franson, and Brandon Kozun due to varying injuries. The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 on Tuesday’s this season.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Back at Nassau Coliseum the Islanders are looking to keep their early perfect home record alive and pick up that fifth win that they did not get against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Jaroslav Halak will be back between the pipes against the Leafs. It will be Halak’s fifth start this season. On the other side of the ice Jonathan Bernier will start in net for the Leafs. He is 0-2-1 in four games played.

A decision on if Lubomir Visnovsky and Travis Hamonic can play against the Leafs will be made later on Tuesday. “He’s feeling pretty good right now. Obviously he’s gone through one full day of practice. We’re still evaluating Hamonic and we’ll make that determination later,” Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said when asked about the status of Visnovsky.

Capuano did add later that there is “a good chance” that Hamonic will play tonight.

The Islanders will need to step up their power play efforts. In Saturday’s loss the Islanders power play went 0-for-7 and will face a Maple Leafs team that has only allowed three goals a man down. The Isles penalty kill will also need to keep the Leafs off the board. The two power play goals given up on Saturday proved to be the difference between a win and loss and the PK has been the topic of conversation since the season started.

“It’s a subject that I don’t even want to discuss anymore,” Capuano said in response to a question about the PK. “Because I think the more that we talk about situations the worse it gets. We just have to make sure we take care of the details and get a big save when we need it.”

“Most important is don’t take any or don’t take many,” Thomas Hickey said referring to penalties. The Leafs are 5-for-22 on the man-advantage.

Capuano: Grabovski is day-to-day

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Injured Forward Mikhail Grabovski might be back sooner than people expected. Grabovski skated prior to the Islanders optional morning skate on Tuesday and Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said he was day-to-day.USATSI_8103441_110579513_lowres

“I don’t know if it’s going to be long term,” he said referring to the injury. “He’s day-to-day. He’s here every morning getting his rehab and actually went on the ice there a little bit. We’ll know a little bit more as each day goes by.”

Capuano characterized Grabovski’s skate on Tuesday morning as a “light skate, but it’s a good sign that he’s progressing.” Grabovski left last Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks after being hit hard by John Scott. He originally passed a concussion test, but woke up on Friday with concussion like symptoms.

Seeing Grabovski back on the ice is a good sign — as Capuano had said — although it still could take some time for him to make it back to the line-up. As a result of the injury Colin McDoanld made his 2014-15 debut on Saturday in the Islanders 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Grabovski will miss the Islanders first game against the Toronto Maples. He spent five years with the Leafs before signing with the Washington Capitals during free agency in 2013.

The 30-year-old had two goals and an assist for three points to start the season with the Islanders prior to the injury.

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Mick Vukota calls in’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of discuss the team’s first loss of the year to Pittsburgh. Plus, Brian catches up with former Islander Mick Vukota as the two reminisce about Nassau Coliseum and Mick’s playing days on the island.

For the show rundown, click here...

  • Isles suffer first loss to Penguins
    • 0-7 on the power play
    • Could Anders Lee replace Mikhail Grabovski?
  • Mick Vukota calls in (8:00)
  • Boychuk returns to Boston on Tuesday
  • Will new owners buy into Barclays? (21:51)
  • One thing that has caught my eye…

Practice report: Hamonic leaves early, changes to lines

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

There was some news from practice in Uniondale. Some of it was good and some of it was not so good.

To start with the good news, it sounds like Lubomir Visnovsky is very close to returning to the Islanders line up. He has been sidelined with back problems since the preseason and was placed on injured reserve on October 7. On Monday Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano told both Arthur Staple of Newsday and Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post that there was a “good chance” that Visnovsky plays on Tuesday.

If Visnovsky plays on Tuesday it will be the first time he sees game action in the 2014-15 season.

The Bad news is that Travis Hamonic left Monday’s practice with an injury. Capuano did not have an update, according to both Staple and Cyrgalis, after practice.

Hamonic left the ice and then returned, but left a second time after feeling discomfort and did not return.

The discomfort could stem from a hit he suffered during Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He left the game in the first period, but did return in the second and played the remainder of the contest. Capuano will likely have an update on the Islander defenseman prior to Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Capuano made some adjustment to the lines during Monday’s practice:

The most notable change is the decision to switch Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson. For the first four games Nelson was centering the second line, while Nielsen played on the third line. Capuano moved Nielsen up and Nelson down.

It is unclear if those changes will stick for Tuesday’s game.