Islanders seemingly falling apart with playoffs on the horizon - Metro US

Islanders seemingly falling apart with playoffs on the horizon

The New York Islanders are playing the waiting game when it comes to extension talks with star captain John Tavares. [Photo: Getty Images]

Essentially, Jack Capuano’s tongue-lashing was a challenge to the New York Islanders.

More is needed. From almost everyone.

“At the end of the day, (John Tavares) is trying to lead our team.He’s doing the best he can but the supporting staff and a few other guys, it’s non-existent right now,” Capuano said after the Islanders lost 4-1 to the Flyers at Barclays Center Monday night.

The Islanders have dropped five of their last six. They have a two point lead over Detroit for the first Eastern Conference Wild Card berth. The Islanders have a 38-24-9 record, good for 85 points, and have 11 games remaining in their first season at Barclays Center

“You’re going to need the secondary guys to pick up some of our leaders,” Capuano said. “You’re hoping eventually some of the guys can get out the funk they are in. But there’s limited time to do that.”

Following the wild 6-4 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March6, the Islanders are 2-6 and have been outscored 23-13.

“There are a few guys that are struggling. You can’t have four or five guys struggling this time of year if you’re going to be successful. We’re a type of team when you need all 20 guys going to be successful,” Capuano said.”You can’t have passengers on any given night or we’re going to find ourselves in a struggle to win that hockey game.”

Against a Flyers team which entered the nationally televised game having won nine of 12, the Islanders started strong. The Islanders outshot Philadelphia 6-0 in the first five minutes, but could not get a puck past Steve Mason.

Following the opening barrage, though, the Islanders were outshot 27-18.

“It’s frustrating a little bit. Obviously it’s an important time of year and we’re not playing our best. The main thing is that we stay positive and stay together. Obviously we’re in the final stretch, but we still like our team we’re a good hockey team. We’ve played good hockey until this point and obviously it starts with me leading the way and I know I have to be better. We know this isn’t our best, but I believe in our group and we have to refocus for Wednesday,” Tavares said. “It’s not like we aren’t trying. I think we just have to execute better. We have to play with a little more confidence and believe in our game and the way we have to play. There can’t be any panic. Obviously we need some urgency and we need to get some points. It’s crucial into the final stretch.”

Kyle Okposo recorded the Islanders’ lone goal, 90 seconds after Nick Cousins opened the scoring. Okposo’s goal was his 20th of the season, and it marked the third time in his career that he broke the 20-goal barrier.

But any self-satisfaction was overshadowed by the state of the team.

“Right now, we are just pretty inconsistent,” Okposo said. “We lost in the first round last year. We want to go deep. We have to dig ourselves out of it and find a way to play better in March and April because we want to play in May and June.

“Right now, it’s just not happening.”

So are there any positives?

Well, sort of. The Islanders are in playoff position with 11 games left, seven of which will be played at Barclays Center where they have a 21-9-4 record.

“This is this season and we’ve played some really good hockey. We’re confident in our group. It was a tough [lost],” Travis Hamonic said “We gotta be ready to go. We have a big handful of games coming up and we gotta be ready. This time of year it’s rebounding quickly.”

You can follow NHL writer Denis P. Gorman on Twitter at @DenisGorman

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