UNIONDALE, NY – During the first week of the season, the New York Islanders couldn’t win a shootout.
Now, they just can’t win at all.
The look on coach Scott Gordon’s face told the story. Meeting with his team for about 15 minutes after last night’s 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, the coach came out of the dressing room with a very grim look.
“It’s the same thing every game,” said Isles goalie Martin Biron, who stopped 25 on the night. “We’re tired of saying the same thing and doing the same thing. At a certain point, we have to respond.”
That “Groundhog Day” effect is an uneven effort. Although the Islanders started strong, the team could not keep that effort up for 60 minutes. In fact, the final 40 was all Sharks.
“We basically gave them the lead in the second,” said forward Josh Bailey. “We did some good things in the third, but by then it was too late.”
After Matt Moulson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with a little less than six minutes left in the first, when he deflected Kyle Okposo’s shot in front of the net to beat Evgeni Nabokov, who finished up the night with 31 saves, the Islanders kept finished up one of the best periods the whole season, outshooting the Sharks 19-8.
Yet, they couldn’t sustain it in the second and the Sharks took control with goals by Patrick Marleau and Ryan Vesce to give the Sharks the lead for good.
And ultimately San Jose iced the match with goals by Joe Thornton – who also had two assists on the night – and Devin Setoguchi in the third, leading to Gordon’s discussion.
“I think the hard part our team is having right now is understanding that we’re not gonna be an explosive offensive team,” Gordon said. “If we think it’s gonna be easy, it’s not. That’s not the makeup of our team. We can’t be the reason the opposition turns their game around. The biggest thing is learning how to win.”
And now at 0-3-3 on the season, that lesson hasn’t been learned yet.