The New York Islanders responded to a rough loss the same way they normally do: with a spirited effort.
New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight was fuming after his team’s 5-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday. Rather than mail it in, he issued a simple challenge to his players: rebound against St. Louis.
Joshua Ho-Sang scored in his return and Thomas Greiss stopped 35 of 37 shots as the Isles took care of business against the Blues. It wasn’t always that way, though.
On Saturday, John Klingberg’s 3-point game helped Dallas humiliate New York on their home ice. During the postgame press conference, Weight was bothered with his players’ efforts, and he let them know it.
“Some heart would be nice to see,” Weight said, via the Associated Press. “Some work ethic, maybe following a game plan and maybe some consistency as far as getting pucks in.”
John Tavares, the team’s franchise center and current goals leader, agreed.
“As players we know we’re the ones that go out on the ice and obviously have to do the job and execute,” Tavares said to the Associated Press. “The system and the framework that they want us to play with, we weren’t really close to that last night so we just wanted to get out there and be a lot more competitive like we know we can be.”
They were a lot more competitive in St. Louis, just like they have been following nearly every loss this season. Remarkably, the Islanders have not lost two straight games in regulation, which seems to be quite the recipe for success.
“It’s when you lose a few in a row that you start to slip in the standings and the confidence slips with it,” Anders Lee told reporters after the game. “You just want to put those behind you as quickly as possible, and I thought we did that tonight.”
One of the things that Weight spoke about after the 5-2 win was leadership, which doesn’t seem to be lacking in the Islanders’ clubhouse. “You could see throughout the day the leaders addressing what needed to be addressed, even without the coaches saying anything,” he said.
Between current captain John Tavares and former captain Andrew Ladd, the Islanders have plenty of leaders on their team. Sprinkle in defenseman Johnny Boychuk, forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Jason Chimera, and goalie Jaroslav Hálak, and New York has plenty of quality veterans to guide them.
The Islanders are 9-6-2, thanks in large part to their ability to bounce back from dispiriting losses. Doug Weight will have a lot more to smile about if they keep that up.