In case anyone has forgotten, the Islanders are still riding a 10-game losing streak into Nassau Coliseum tonight. With new coach Jack Capuano now at the helm, here are three keys to stopping the skid Wednesday night against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
The First 20 Minutes
When a team jettisons its coach mid-season it's expected that the players give themselves a long look in the mirror and acknowledge that their poor performance contributed to a guy losing his job. The hope is that will reinvigorate them and redouble their effort on the ice. The best way the Isles can pay their penance is to provide a high-energy first period. Which will hopefully result in ...
The First Goal
Now, all the effort in the world means diddly if you don't score. And the first goal has been particularly key for the Islanders this season. The Isles actually have a winning record (4-1-1) when they score first. When their opponent notches the first goal? They're winless. Seems pretty important to light the lamp first, no?
Steven Stamkos is a machine on the power play. Nearly half (40) of his career goals have come with the man advantage. He particularly favors the left faceoff circle where he can set up for his blistering one-timer. The Islanders, and the rest of the NHL, know that. Stopping it will be the trick. It will be interesting to see how Capuano's new crew approach the problem and if they can be successful taking away time and space from one of the NHL's most lethal snipers.