No excuses was head coach Jack Capuano’s mindset heading into last night’s regular season home finale against last-place Florida.
“If it is, we’ve got problems,” Capuano said when asked if he was concerned if his team would view the match as a trap game.
Florida is 13-22-6 and engaged in a race with Colorado, Calgary and Carolina for the first overall pick in this June’s Entry Draft. The Islanders are 21-16-5 record, which his seventh-best in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders enter the match having won seven of their last 10 games, and have earned points in nine of their last 10 games.
“We’ve done a good job the last two or three weeks of enjoying a win when we win — or even a loss — and just refocusing and recommitting to do what we have to do,” Capuano said. “We played a solid game [Saturday] night [against the Rangers]. We didn’t get the result we wanted with two points but we got to come back tonight and play hard.”
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With five games remaining this season — all on the road — the Islanders are clearly in the Eastern Conference playoff mix in a year in which not much was expected. Capuano pointed to maturity and character as key to the Islanders’ success.
“Focus and the commitment level. Try not to talk about having all the distractions with you guys and everybody talking about it. So just honestly go about our business,” Capuano said.
“From Day 1, I said we have high character, good leadership in this room. We’ve always had a positive room”
Isles happy to get away?
One of the themes spanning the last five seasons has been the decided lack of a home-ice advantage at the Nassau Coliseum.
Even though the Islanders will finish this year with a losing record at what was once termed Fort Neverlose — they are 9-11-3 at home during the 2013 season — the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike is beginning to evoke memories of a bygone era.
“Going into the Ranger game, it was a big rivalry. We had to, obviously, focus on just being another game but we knew what this building was going to be like. One of the best hockey games I’ve been around in a long time, especially 0-0 after 60 minutes,” Capuano said.
“[Tuesday night is the] last time they see us [in the regular season]. Hopefully they’ll see us again. They’ve been there for us. Hopefully they’ll be behind us again tonight against a good Florida team that’s playing [very] well right now. We need the help and they’re there for us.”
The NHL announced Tuesday afternoon that Monday night’s postponed Senators-Bruins game will be made up on April 28 at the TD Garden. The game was rescheduled due to the Boston Marathon bombing.
It will be the regular season finale. The season had previously been slated to end on April 27.
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.