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Isles hoping signs of life lead to end of skid

by Brian Compton
SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Despite the fact that his team is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, times have been worse for New York Islanders captain Doug Weight.
Seventeen years ago, Weight -- who was 22 at the time -- was part of a 14-game winless streak as a member of an Edmonton Oilers team that finished the 1993-94 season with just 64 points. After opening that campaign with back-to-back victories, the Oilers went 0-13-1 over their next 14 games.
"When I first went to Edmonton, we were rebuilding," Weight told on Monday afternoon. "We had some long (losing streaks). None of them are easy. Two, three, four ... it doesn't matter."
The Isles' losing streak certainly hasn't been easy, given their 4-1-2 start to the season. Not only has New York failed to win another game since Matt Moulson's wacky overtime goal at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21, but it hasn't held a lead at any point during this skid that it takes to the West Coast, beginning with Anaheim on Wednesday night.
But after being blown out in Philadelphia nine days ago (6-1) and Carolina last Wednesday (7-2), the Islanders showed signs of life in their last two games. They outshot Ottawa 29-26 in a 4-1 loss in Canada's capital city last Thursday before being edged at home by the Flyers in a 2-1 loss Saturday night.

"Somewhere along the way, we've gotten away from our game. Enough's enough." -- Isles coach Scott Gordon

"There's definitely some things that we've gotten away from," Isles coach Scott Gordon said. "(But) I liked the way the guys responded in Ottawa (last Thursday) as far as cleaning up defensive-zone coverage. I liked the way we responded in the Philadelphia game at home (on Saturday). We had a lot of sustained pressure. We can only go off of what our last game was and take the positives from that.
"Somewhere along the way, we've gotten away from our game. Enough's enough."
James Wisniewski agreed.
"The last couple of games, we've actually played pretty well," the Isles' defenseman said. "I think we probably deserved to win both games, but when things are going bad, it's hard to get bounces. The only thing you can do is play more games and just try to turn it around as quickly as possible."
Special teams is one area where the Islanders have struggled. After enjoying a tremendous amount of success earlier this season on the power play, New York has converted only three times on the man advantage in its last 23 opportunities. The Isles went 1-for-6 on the power play in Saturday's loss.
"(When) the power play isn't working, just shoot the puck," Weight said. "You simplify things. When you're in the middle of something like this, you've got to come to the rink, work harder and have a great attitude. You've got to come together. No one in this League, outside of this room, cares about you. You have to come together as one and come with some emotion and just try to get out of it."
In 1993, the Oilers ended their 14-game tailspin with a 4-2 win at Detroit on Nov. 9 thanks to a 46-save performance by Bill Ranford. Weight, though, realizes that it's going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach if the Islanders are going to avoid an eight-game losing streak on Wednesday night against the Ducks, who are 5-1-1 at home and winners of three straight.
"It's up to everybody that's involved with this team to keep bringing it and keep looking at things, whether it's film or whatever," Weight said. "Ultimately, you know what to do. But we've got to play better. We've got to play more consistent and we've got to play with a little more vigor for 60 minutes and we've got to get a win. That's it.
"Obviously, we know what we're in the midst of. You go through it from time to time. Two things are a reality -- no one really cares except for the guys in here, and it's not going to help dragging your chin around and worrying. I think we have to face it head-on with a great work ethic and with some emotion and go out and try to win a game Wednesday."
Added Wisniewski: "When things turn around and the flood gates open for us, watch out."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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