Islanders' home woes continue with loss to Bruins
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Home cooking just isn’t what it used to be for the Islanders.
Their 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins Tuesday night was the team’s eighth loss in 10 games at the Nassau Coliseum. The last time the Isles won in their own building was back on Feb. 16, when they beat the New Jersey Devils 5-1.
“Yeah we haven’t been very good at home,” John Tavares said after the game. “I thought we worked pretty hard tonight, but we gave up a couple of goals and we gave them the lead, and they’re pretty good when they get it. Obviously they play with a lot of confidence and we didn’t get some good chances. We didn’t get too many of the dirty ones. We have to hack away, find a way in front to score some goals.”
The Islanders did not play that poorly, but it was not well enough to beat an Eastern Conference powerhouse like the Bruins. They created chances but couldn’t find a way to beat Bruins starter Tuukka Rask. And defensive breakdowns cost the Islanders, despite Evgeni Nabokov doing everything he could to keep his team in the game.
At the Coliseum, a building that was once nicknamed “Fort Never Lose,” the Isles are 2-8-0 and it is just the second time in franchise history that the team has grabbed four or fewer points in their first 10 home games.
“It’s an ugly number, no question,” coachJack Capuano said. “There’s not an easy night in the Eastern Conference, I can tell you that. It’s the best conference, we’re in the best division that there is and every night is a battle. I thought we had some quality chances tonight; we just come away with the one goal. We have to find a way to get it done at home.”
At the moment the Islanders are just two points out of a playoff spot and are now two games into a seven-game homestand. They’ve been helped out by their better 6-3-1 record on the road, but for the Isles to have any chance at thinking about the postseason they will have to find ways to win at home.
“The wins [at home] haven’t come,” Casey Cizikas, the Islanders’ lone goal scorer on Tuesday, said. “But in some of our home losses we’ve outshot teams, we’ve outplayed teams and it’s just a matter of keeping that lead. We play a good 40 minutes and it just seems like teams are getting those easy goals and we’re just letting up a bit.
“I think we just have to play a full 60-minutes and I think that’s what will make us successful here.”
Tavares echoed similar sentiments and believes the team’s inability to play strong from start to finish has been a major detriment.
“I think for most games we haven’t won here we just haven’t played for a full 60 minutes. We’ve had some lapses and let teams off the hook,” he said.
The Isles don’t hit the ice against an opponent until Thursday when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. They beat the Leafs earlier in the year, but on the road. With the four teams in front of the Islanders in action either tonight or Thursday, the meeting with Toronto will be one they must win.
“This next game against Toronto is going to be a big one for us and something we have to take seriously,” Cizikas said.