Read the full game story for New York Hockey Journal here
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Islanders fell to the Sabres 2-1 in the shootout, and while the secured one point in the standings, they now need a bit of help from the New Jersey Devils and/or the Philadelphia Flyers to keep them out of finishing eighth.
The Devils and Rangers play today at 3 p.m. and the Flyers take on the Ottawa Senator today at 7 p.m.
As for last night’s game, the Islanders started off slow and made too many sloppy mistakes that gave the Sabres opportunity after opportunity. Buffalo did make a few mistakes of their own, but the Isles never cashed in until the early third period goal by Keith Aucoin.
The power play was mostly a no show for a better part of the game, though the last man advantage the Isles had did generate several chance. Through their last five games the Islanders have gone 1-for-16 on the power play. It is area that the coaching staff is aware has to be worked on.
“It’s something that we have to address,” head coach Jack Capuano said last night. “Special teams goes up and down throughout the year. Our power, we just have to get a little more urgency to our game and making sure we’re converging. Get to those tough areas and we didn’t do a great job of that tonight.”
Of course another area to address was the sloppy play the Islanders have been exhibiting the past few games. Last night, and the night before for that matter, was not the same Islander squad that has caught the eyes of the entire NHL over the past month. Travis Hamonic was very blunt last night in saying that his team “showed up for maybe 15 minutes” and it was very accurate. It wasn’t until the lucky break that allowed Aucoin to score that the Islanders really started to put the screws on the Sabres.
That will be something that the team will need to work on, and will work on, as they prepare for their first round opponent.
On the lucky bounce:
“I was able to get a good bounce off the boards and it was so high miller wasn’t able to get it. He kind of lunged and had a five-hole wide open.”
On game performance:
“The first forty weren’t good for us, but the last twenty was pretty good. Once we got that goal we kind of got the momentum and started to play the way we’re capable of playing. We have to do that from the first 20, we can’t wait till the last 10. Once we got that goal we played the way we’re capable of playing.”
On what you carry over from the regular season:
“You always want to remember what took you to this point. Why we were so successful in the last month and a half. We just have to do those things and maybe more. Everything is going to quicker, more physical, more edgy and we have to be ready for that because it’s going to be a hard, hard searies. It doesn’t matter who it’s going to be.”
On turning the page:
“That’s what we talked about after. We came back, we got the point, we didn’t win the skills competition, but told them after the game that they deserve this opportunity to move forward. The past is the past. We’ll meet when we get back, we’ll get some rest here and we’ll move forward. It’s an exciting time for the guys.”