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Isles hope to end slide under new coach

by John Kreiser
LIGHTNING (8-7-2) at ISLANDERS (4-10-3)


Last 10 -- Tampa Bay 3-6-1; New York 0-9-1

Season series -- It’s the second meeting of the season between the Eastern Conference rivals. The Islanders won 3-2 in overtime at the St. Pete Times Forum on a goal by Matt Moulson that had to be verified by video review.

Big story -- That OT win nearly four weeks ago gave the Islanders a 4-1-2 start, but they haven't won since. The 10-game losing streak cost Isles coach Scott Gordon his job on Monday. He was replaced on an interim basis by Jack Capuano, who had been coach the team's AHL farm club in Bridgeport. His first game as an NHL coach comes against a Tampa Bay team that’s also in a slump.

Team Scope:

Lightning -- After a hot start that made them the talk of the League, the Lightning have come back down to earth. Sunday's 4-1 home loss to Minnesota -- a game in which they outshot the Wild 38-18 -- was their sixth defeat in seven games.

"It was one of those games, where again, we doubled the amount of shots of the other team," said center Steven Stamkos, who assisted on the only goal. "We have to realize that we are doing the right things, we just can't buy a goal."

Islanders -- The Islanders used the three-day break after their California trip to change coaches, replacing Gordon with Capuano, who has coached many of the current players during his time in Bridgeport. He said he's not going to make any changes for the moment, even though he's taking over a team that has scored just eight goals in its last eight games.

"There are a few thinghs that we'll tweak," he said. "There are some things we might talk about before the game -- you only have a couple of days before the game to work on things, so you don't want to give them too much. They need to relax and have some fun That's the most important thing right now."
Who’s hot -- Stamkos is the NHL leader in goals (15) and shares the scoring lead with Sidney Crosby (28 points). He has 5 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak. … Though he lost all three games in California, Dwayne Roloson was the Isles' best player, allowing only seven goals. He has a 2.39 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, but only a 2-7-1 won-lost record.

Injury report -- Bolts captain Vincent Lecavalier underwent surgery Monday to repair a broken right hand. He's expected to miss at least another three weeks. Forward Simon Gagne skated Tuesday for the first time since he was injured in the loss to the Isles on Oct. 21. The team says he has muscle and nerve inflammation in his neck that has affected his vision. He didn't make the trip to Long Island. … Isles captain Doug Weight left Tuesday's practice early with a back problem, and defenseman Jack Hillen, who missed Saturday's game with an illness, didn't skate. They are still without Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo (shoulder surgery), Andrew MacDonald (broken hand) and Milan Jurcina (broken hand).

Stat pack -- The Islanders have already played 12 road games, the earliest they've ever done so. This is their sixth home game. They play back-to-back home games after playing 12 of 15 on the road. ... New York has gone 12 games without scoring more than three goals; the Isles are 2-9-1 in those games.

Puck drop -- "Hopefully this kind of changes the atmosphere and the disappointment over the last few weeks. We have to approach it almost like a new season. We don't have any excuses any more, or any other reason we shouldn't be performing on the ice. ... 10 games is unacceptable, so now it's time to go forward and get something positive going." -- Islanders center John Tavares.
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