Kevin Schultz“That’s about the worst I’ve seen them play all year,” Jack Capuano said of his defense after the Islanders lost 6-3 in Phoenix tonight. “We don’t have a lot of options obviously. It’s just, they struggled tonight.”
And struggle the defense did. The Islanders allowed four straight goals,three over a four-minute stretch in the second period, to turn a 1-0 lead into a 4-1 deficit on the road.
Aaron Ness, for one, was -3 on the night and had a rather unfortunate moment on the Coyotes second goal. Rob Klinkhammer’s shot seemed to be going through the crease but it hit off a sprawled Ness and went into the back of the net. The Yotes third goal came on a scramble in front that saw Frans Nielsen and Thomas Hickey diving towards the net behind Poulin. And the fourth was a ‘welcome to the NHL’ sort of moment where Ness was soft in coverage on Mike Ribeiro, and you can’t soft cover a scorer like Riberio.
To their credit, the Islanders battled back late in the second. A makeshift line of Vanek, Tavares and Clutterbuck crashed the net and came away with a goal. Then, Kyle Okposo scored diving across the crease on a deflection to bring the Islanders within one in a 90-second span.
But late in the period the Coyotes scored and it seemed like that goal broke the Islanders back tonight. Mikkel Boedker had time and space and rifled a wrister past Kevin Poulin with a minute to go.
From there the frustration seemed to set in for everyone.
MSG cameras caught assistant coach Doug Weight and Tavares having a spirited, and without knowing the context a possibly innocuous conversation heading to the locker room after the second period.
The Islanders didn’t have too much life in the third and weren’t able to capitalize on the chances they did have (two powerplays, for instance). Towards the end, Matt Martin and Tim Kennedy went at each other at center ice, with Martin cross-checking Kennedy as he was down on the ice. Keith Yandle came in from behind with a cross-check on Martin, which was a bit dirty of a play. And Kyle Okposo managed to get himself a trip to the locker room for a game misconduct on the play. In the postgame, coach Capuano seemed terse in responding to questions about another loss.
So now the Islanders head home for Montreal with a 1-4 road trip, their 11th loss in 12 games and no regulation wins since November 12th.
What’s wrong with the D?
For help, we turn to a former Islanders defender:
Casey Cizikas left during the first period and did not return due to a jaw injury. Cizikas took a (uncalled) high stick to the face.
GIF of the Night
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