The New York Islanders could have went up 2-0 heading to Barclays Center. Instead, they concluded their two-game stint in Tampa with a stinker.
For the first time in seemingly forever, New York won back-to-back games in round one. They’ve finished their hits, have been relentless on the forecheck, and have displayed loads of emotion and heart.
But while their unrelenting resiliency has permeated the tabloids the most (and rightfully so), it should be noted that every-now-and-then the Isles pull off a stinker; filled with zero killer instinct, zero desperation.
That has been evident throughout Jack Capuano‘s tenure as head coach. While Cappy has some positive attributes (he is a “player’s best friend,” as Travis Hamonic once told me), succesfully encouraging his players to play every game like it’s their last has never been one.
Now it’s getting better, of course. The Isles advanced to the second round of the postseason for the first time since 1993, and won a handful of pivotal games late over the Florida Panthers.
But at the same token, it’s still right there: The Isles failed to even put up a fight in game two Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, something disconcerting to a fan who spends loads of time hopes his team at least try to compete.
In Saturday’s matinee against the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Isles allowed their opponent to dictate the game and send the series back to Brooklyn even at one.
It’s not so much that the Isles were out-chanced and out-shot as much as it was them coming off a laid-back and flat.
In 1999, Bill Stewart, the Islanders’ coach, said his team lacked ”the killer instinct.”
The Isles need to heed his advice if they wish to buck the trend and continue their magical run.