Capuano fires up ‘embarrassing’ Isles
Between Periods Pep Talk Inspires 3-2 Shootout Win in Columbus
After watching his team meander through a lifeless first period in Columbus, Ohio Tuesday night, getting outshot 12-7 and trailing 2-1 on the scoreboard entering the intermission, the Islanders’ head coach ripped into his squad to the detriment of his own vocal chords.
“I didn’t have any voice left after the first period,” Capuano said of his impromptu but warranted locker room rant. “It was embarrassing the way that we played. Our compete level was non-existent and I told them. It was unacceptable.”
His charges took heed of Captain Jack’s strong words, peppering rookie Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo with 39 shots over the final two periods and overtime en route to a 3-2 shootout victory over Columbus in front of 14,303 fans at Nationwide Arena.
“I think the second and third period, we responded, we played good,” added Capuano after Cal Clutterbuck’s shootout tally lifted New York to its second straight win and moved the Islanders (28-18-6, 62 points) within three points of the East River rival Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves, adding three more during the shootout, and Ryan Strome and Anders Lee scored in regulation for New York, which averted a third consecutive road defeat by improving to 4-0 this season against Columbus, which resides at the bottom of the division.
“These two points or any points right now we need them,” said Halak, who remains the Islanders’ primary netminder despite the fact that Capuano still has three goalies on the roster.
“We just need to keep climbing in the standings because if you look at the standings, it’s really tight and it’s going to be like this for the rest of the year,” Halak added.
In danger of dropping to 2-3 since the All-Star break, the Islanders got off to a quick start, opening the scoring on Strome’s sixth tally of the year off a feed from team captain John Tavares just 56 seconds into the action.
But the Blue Jackets dominated the rest of the stanza, getting goals from Cam Atkinson and Brandon Dubinsky to take a 2-1 lead after one.
Though they were unable to knot the contest until Lee potted a power-play goal at the 3:05 mark of the third period, the Islanders barraged Korpisalo over the final 45 minutes before the NHL’s game-deciding skills competition commenced.
“He was incredible,” Strome said of Korpisalo, who finished with 46 saves before being beaten by Frans Nielsen and Clutterbuck in the shootout. “Almost 50 shots. He robbed me a couple of times and John Tavares a couple of times. All in all a good win.”
New York will try to make it three wins in a row overall, and three straight at home as well, when it hosts Los Angeles here on Wednesday night.
Jean-Francois Berube, who hasn’t played in net since backstopping the Isles to a 5-3 victory over Minnesota on Feb. 2 in the first game following the All-Star break, would be an interesting choice to start against his former organization.
The Kings released Berube back in October, and the Isles pounced on the 24-year-old goalie, who has gone 1-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average in two starts this season.
Thomas Greiss, the other member of New York’s three-headed goalie monster, was between the pipes on Super Bowl Sunday at the Barclays Center, when the Isles rolled to an 8-1 win over visiting Edmonton.
Regardless of who gets the call to start in net Wednesday night, Capuano just wants to make sure that the five players in front of him are doing their best to keep the crease clear and keep up the attack on the opposing goalie.
Even if it means losing his voice.
Isle Have Another: Tavares, who was mired in an uncharacteristic scoring funk earlier this season, has come on of late, compiling 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last seven games. … The Isles have outscored their opponents 58-42 in the third period this season, including 16-4 over the last 10 games. … New York will try to build on its impressive 17-8-3 home record when it hosts Los Angeles Thursday. … Following the Kings game, the Isles will head to Carolina on Saturday night to take on the Hurricanes.
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