As his postgame interview with MSG Network’s Peter Ruttgaizer progressed Sunday night, Islanders coach Jack Capuano’s face became an amalgamation of anger.
The credit for Capuano’s ills can be given to his charges.
“There [are] no excuses. We have to finish our checks. We have to be more physical,” Capuano said after the Islanders’ 4-1 loss to Vancouver.
The Islanders are 1-6-3 since Oct. 20 and their 4-7-3 record is the second worst in the NHL. The Islanders’ 29 goals are the fewest in the league while their 43 goals allowed ranks 19th out of the league’s 30 teams.
“We have to find the will to win. We can talk a good game. The players can talk a good game. But you have to find the will to compete every single night,” Capuano said, a damning critique of a team that was a trendy preseason pick to reach the playoffs. “At some point, if it doesn’t, the lineup is going to have to change and other guys have to get an opportunity.”
It’s in this atmosphere that the Islanders host the Rangers tonight at the Coliseum.
The Islanders won the first match, 4-2, at home on Oct. 15. But as the Islanders have descended, the Rangers have ascended — having won six in a row.