Their Worst Game Of The Season, Isles Lose 6-0 To The Bruins
"When you play this game you need to play with fire, you need to play with passion, you need to play with determination, you need to play with desperation. You need to have ice bags after the game, maybe a little blood dripping right now. When you lace your skates up the guy across from you, the guy on the right, on the left of you need to know that you got their back and we're going to play for one another. And that just didn't happen tonight and I don't have the answers why."
This is how head coach Jack Capuano started his post-game press conference after a humiliating 6-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. Fired up and with his blood boiling, Capuano came out like a steam roller of emotion. Typically, Capuano is able to find positives in all games, whether they are a win or a loss. But there was absolutely nothing that could contain him from losing his cool last night.
"Couldn't make a pass. First shot was on the penalty kill. Like enough about staying positive and we're going to get through this. You have to work," he continued. "If you saw our team play after the second half of last year, you saw passion. You saw physiciality. That's what you need to win hockey games in the National Hockey League every night, and right now, as collectively, we are not doing that and you're not going to have success. I know what I would do, but that's here or there right now."
"You got to have the will to compete at the highest level every night when you go into battle."
And usually this team does have that will. There have been many games that the Isles have lossed this year where they appeared to be the harder working team but would lose due to the inability to score goals or finish plays. But it appeared that there were too many players that were lost in the clouds on a night where the organization was honoring Ed Westfall, the team's first captain. Westfall was inducted to the Islanders hall of fame in a very class ceremony that was the prelude to the opening face-off. Everyone showed up to pay their respects, but no one showed up in an Islanders jersey to play hockey.
"This is our fans. This is our building with a good crowd," said Capuano. "We want to play hard every night, but you know what? You're at home. This is your building. You want to make the National Hockey League playoffs you got to win home games. You got to win the majority of your home games. There were some guys that care, there's no question on the bench tonight. But the emotion was down, fragile. You know what? You got to battle through it. You got to battle through it."
The Islanders were trailing 3-0 after the first period and only managed to get two shots on goal to the Bruins 13. Patrice Bergeron would get the route started with a snap shot at even strength, but the worst play would come later from DP. With the Isles on the penalty kill, DiPietro looked to clear the puck up the middle but inadvertently passed the puck right to Nathan Horton. He walked right in and made him pay with a power play goal over his glove. Chris Kelly would add one more tally before the end of the period.
"He wasn't very pleased," said DiPietro in regards to Capuano's thoughts after the first. "Wasn't much that needed to be said. I think everyone in the room felt it and knew what had to be done."
DP would end up on the bench to start the period and rookie Anders Nilsson would make his NHL debut in relief of the starter. A pull was certainly needed, but Nilsson would soon see that the first period wasn't only Rick's fault as there was absolutely no support in front of him. He would let up three more goals; another to Kelly and one a piece to Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference. The defending Stanley Cup champs were dominating the game from start to finish, not only on the score board, but with their bodies as well. More players in an Islanders uniform hit the ice last night than any other game this season. And no one was responding.
"It really doesn't matter about our line, or one or two guys playing well. You lose a game 6-0, there's really nothing positive to look at that," said a frustrated Matt Martin after the game. Martin and Jay Pandolfo teamed up for probably the team's best offensive chance late in the third period while shorthanded with a flurry of quick chances in front of Tim Thomas.
"We got to take a look at ourselves. I mean this is a proud organization. Four Stanley Cups here. We got to play with a chip on our shoulder, we got to have some pride. We're better than this, we know we're better than this. It's just little things. You see a team like that, they skate around, I mean they're a good team but they act like they're even better. That's something. We just got to have confidence in ourselves."
But what seemed to bother Martin the most was this team's inability to respond to the physical presence that the Bruins brought to the ice each period.
"Every time they have a scrum out there they have five guys in and they're standing up for one another and that's something that we got to do. We're a family in here, you can't let your brothers get pushed around. We just got to regroup tomorrow and apparently look at ourselves, take a look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do better."
In response to the effortless loss, the Islanders have called up David Ullstrom from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Ullstrom leads the Sound Tigers in points with 12 goals and two assists in 17 games played. At 6'2 and 195 pounds, Ullstrom will add size and speed, something that this team can certainly use to get passed last night's loss. It has not been determined as to who will sit, but the Isles were able to call him up due to Al Montoya being placed on the IR, joining Nabokov as the two injured goalies.
Capuano also stated that Okposo will be returning to the line-up shortly, so it's possible that both he and Ullstrom will be in the line-up on Monday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins. The question is who will the head coach sit for both players.