Players Buy Into System; Extend Streak

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It’s all about the system these days for the New York Islanders, who defeated the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 6-0 last night at the Nassau Coliseum. Jaroslav Halak only had to make 20 saves for his second consecutive shut out of the season. With another four game winning streak, the Islanders record improves to 10-5-0, good for second in the Metro Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. In this four game span, the Islanders have outscored their opponents 12-3. Their penalty killing that was once at 60%, now stands at just under 73%. Many got their first goals of the season last night including Ryan Strome and Casey Cizikas who scored in front of the net.

So what is Jack Capuano’s system all about? It’s attention to detail, meaning not giving the opposition any power play time, continuing to skate hard and having the defense join in on the rush. Speaking of the defense, the system that Capuano preaches is defense first to allow more mistakes to be created by the opposition so that the Islanders can take advantage. The last four games have seen the Isles on the powerplay an average of four times per game. The opposition are already giving the Isles a goal. The biggest difference and the final piece to Capuano’s system is the battle and pressure for every possession of that puck. It’s clear, especially in the third periods where the Islanders are now controlling the game when they have a lead and are now suffocating teams with the puck possessions; which leads to less shot on the goalie which in turn, leads to better goaltending.

Last week after the loss to the San Jose Sharks, their was a massive uprising of the faithful Islanders fan base that wanted Capuano fired. Indeed, I read quite a few blogs that were also calling for change at the head coaching position because no one wanted to see a repeat of previous Novembers. Luckily here at Isles Talk, cooler heads prevailed and it was stated that it was the responsibility of the players to get themselves out of their “crisis” and that a few practices were necessary since more than half the players had only been together for a few weeks and had not experienced a November like the fans have. If Capuano had lost the locker room, then this is a different topic altogether. When the players bought into Capuano’s system during the road trip and it showed on the ice, the Islanders averaged 25 shots allowed by the opposition which gives them a chance to win every time, including the last two games where they gave up 20 shots or less.

Are the Islanders fixed? No, there will always be something that needs to be worked on, but it is certainly clear that Capuano has not lost the locker room, so it would be fair to say that Islander fans can put down the pitch forks and begin to embrace these new Islanders, which includes the coach. There should not be anymore “The Sky Is Falling” rants, fire the coach blogs, radio shows saying how the Islanders are a laughing stock, their backup goalie tuned GM has no clue and the Islanders are nothing more than a “Tire Fire.” It’s time the Islanders fans stopped shitting on their own team/coach/management. They now have a team that is for real and will be here all season long. Throw out the negative crap and stick with the positives because the Islanders can only go up from here on out. When you start believing in that, life just gets better.

PK @Netminder39