UNIONDALE, N.Y. – New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano changed up his lines before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and saw his team rally to beat the Eastern Conference's regular-season champion.
With the series returning to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for an afternoon Game 3 on Sunday, Capuano said he's not going to change a thing.
"The way we handled our lineup all year was that the guys who played well deserved to play the following game," Capuano said, about two hours before the Islanders took the ice for their first playoff game at the Coliseum since 2007. "We're not going to change our mentality, as far as that goes."
That means Matt Moulson, the regular left wing on a line with John Tavares and Brad Boyes, will play with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo; John Bailey will switch onto Tavares' line. The move paid off in Game 2, with the Islanders rallying from a 3-1 deficit for a series-tying 4-3 victory. Moulson had a goal and assisted on Okposo's game-winner.
No one on the Islanders' current roster has played a home playoff game at the Coliseum. But unlike Game 1, when his team looked scared and nervous, Capuano said his team has a much better idea of what to expect in a playoff game.
"The one thing everybody tells you about [the playoffs] is to enjoy it," he said. "That's what we're doing – we're going about our business, but at the same time we're enjoying the situation we've put ourselves in.
"We've worked hard the last two months to get where we are. In Game 1 we were tentative – we were a little bit nervous, for whatever reason. I liked our effort in Game 2."
The Coliseum will be rocking for the Islanders' first home game in the postseason in six years, but Capuano isn't worried about his team being too high.
"They should be excited. It's going to be a great atmosphere in this building," he said. "We need to take advantage of it."
Here is the Islanders' projected lineup for Game 3 against Pittsburgh.