Panthers vs. Islanders Preview
NEW YORK, NY - Adjusting to the style of new coach Jack Capuano didn't seem to be a problem for the New York Islanders. Now it's a matter of whether that transformation works quickly enough for them to avoid matching the longest losing streak in franchise history.
That is what will be at stake for New York on Saturday night when it meets the Florida Panthers, who are concluding a four-game road trip.
A loss in this contest would be the 12th in a row for the Islanders (4-11-3), and that would equal the club record set from Nov. 22-Dec. 15, 1988.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Islanders –121 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Panthers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 69% of more than 63 bets for this game have been placed on the Islanders -121.
The skid reached 11, the team's longest since 1996, with a 4-2 defeat to Tampa Bay on Wednesday in Capuano's debut. Despite remaining winless since Oct. 21, New York did have 36 shots - its most since the season opener - and seemed to take to Capuano's loose attitude to the ice.
"I felt a lot more comfortable out there," forward P.A. Parenteau said. "When a coach tells you to go out there and play and have fun, you don't think as much, you're not worried as much. I think it helps, but we didn't come up with a win. We're going to have to find ways to make that happen soon."
Matt Moulson notched his seventh goal of the season and John Tavares scored for the first time in nine games for the Islanders, who netted two or fewer goals for the ninth consecutive contest. They've failed to score in their last 18 power-play chances.
Dwayne Roloson made his sixth straight start and stopped 36 shots en route to his eighth consecutive loss - two shy of a career high. Despite a 2-8-1 record, Roloson has a respectable 2.45 goals-against average. He allowed a goal to NHL leading scorer Steven Stamkos as the first period horn sounded.
"When things are going bad, those things are going to happen," Roloson said. "You've got to forget about it, and that's what we did. We went out and played."
Capuano said he was pleased overall with what he saw and is trying a new approach from that of the fired Scott Gordon.
"We did a good job in a lot of areas," Capuano said. "I just wanted them to be loose and have a little bit of fun. They have been through a lot, and I think it grows on you mentally."
New York hopes to end its losing streak against the team that started it. The Panthers beat the Islanders 4-3 on Oct. 23 in Florida.
The Panthers (8-9-0) have dropped two of three on their road trip following a 4-0 loss to Boston on Thursday night. It was the first time they were shut out all season.
Florida is scoreless in its last 14 power-play opportunities and 25 of 27, but coach Peter DeBoer felt the unit played well Thursday and went 0 for 5 only because of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask's superior effort.
"We generated plenty of chances on the power play," DeBoer said. "I mean, when you've got a goalie that plays like that, that's the power-play problem."
Tomas Vokoun gave up all four goals Thursday as his three-game win streak was snapped - he had allowed only one goal in each victory.
Vokoun has won all 10 of his home starts against the Islanders - the last seven with Florida - while posting a 1.49 GAA. He's been in net for each of the last six meetings overall, going 5-0-1 while allowing 11 goals.