, playing against the Penguins again so soon – Thursday night in Pittsburgh - is a welcome challenge.
“We talk about getting to that next level, being a better team and getting into the playoffs,” Tavares said. “It’s great that we played well (Tuesday). It’s all positive, but at the same time, good teams find ways to win and that’s what Pittsburgh did against us. They may not have played their best game or been as sharp as they would have liked, but they still found a way to win.”
We talk about getting to that next level, being a better team and getting into the playoffs. It’s great that we played well (Tuesday). It’s all positive, but at the same time, good teams find ways to win and that’s what Pittsburgh did against us. They may not have played their best game or been as sharp as they would have liked, but they still found a way to win. - John Tavares
The Islanders outshot the Penguins 33-29, had another 26 shots blocked (nine more than the Pens), laid out 24 hits compared to the Pens 22, had five less giveaways and won 55 percent of all faceoffs. Despite all the stats in favor of the Islanders, the Penguins still found a way to earn a shutout victory.
“That’s where we have to dig deep, find that will and that competitiveness to overcome some of those things, whether it’s a hot goaltender, you’re not getting calls or pucks aren’t bouncing your way,” Tavares said. “That’s what we have to learn and understand that it’s going to take more than what we expect sometimes to win hockey games.”
It can be argued that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s “first star” performance kept the Penguins in the game, but Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano alluded that the team still needs to find a way to get pucks across the goal line, no matter who’s in the crease.
“Watching the video, (Fleury) played extremely well,” Capuano said. “We did have some second and third opportunities, but he came up big for them. Every goalie is this league is a quality goalie.”
Capuano added, “We had a couple turnovers that cost us, but I was happy with our performance offensively. I thought we were involved, we had quite a few shots and got to the net. The guys weren’t rewarded, but if they continue to do that, the puck will go in.”
|John Tavares speaks to the media after the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum on October 25, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Now without a goal through 85:28 and an even strength goal through 132:05, the team is not discouraged. Tavares’ linemate Matt Moulson
said the team is doing all the right things.
“We just have to keep getting shots, keep getting shots to the net,” Moulson said. “Chances were there, so we just have to put them away. We had our fair share of chances, especially in close. So we just have to keep doing what we’re doing, keeping shooting, get more bodies to the net and make it hard for the goalie to challenge and see pucks.”
Even though they’re having difficulties producing offensively, the Islanders know that they’ll eventually start scoring in droves.
“We have a positive attitude heading into tomorrow,” Tavares said. “We know it’s going to be a tough environment, but it’s time for us to find a way to win some of these games in these environments and these atmospheres, especially as a team that wants to be successful and take that next step.”
Moulson added, “We just have to keep building on what we’re doing well and limit the mistakes. We’ll come away with more victories than losses if we do that.”