In the last two weekends, the Islanders have hosted a matinee against a team they needed two points against, and started it off with some pregame fun. Last weekend, it was Marvel superheroes; this afternoon it was a Mount Rushmore's worth of Presidents.
Unfortunately, neither superheroes nor great statesmen have been of any help once the puck dropped. The Florida Panthers shook off a quick goal to bury the Isles 4-1, and today... well... ugh.
The Isles were never in this one. Twenty seconds in the Senators had a golden rebound chance off the post. The very next rush, while the MSG feed was still showing the Islanders scratches, Eric Karlsson picked off a telegraphed breakout pass from Matt Martin, took the puck below the goal line, and then flung it creaseward, where it squibbed off Kevin Poulin and into the net. And not thirty seconds after that, on a delayed penalty, Jason Spezza ended Poulin's night with a one-timer. (Capuano could be seen snapping "GO" to Al Montoya on the bench.)
In just 1:35, that was the end of the hopefulness of the pregame chat about the Isles' 12-8-4 run from December 29 to today. Butch Goring said that he though the Isles would have to go 16-8 the rest of the way; now it's 16-7.
Along the way, there was a lot of melting down among the Islanders. Matt Martin had a fight, and got his five minutes' worth with some good shots on Zack Smith. But PA Parenteau was the worst offender. His slash killed the end of an Isles power play, and Karlsson potted his second just three seconds after he got out of the box. Shortly after, PAP said something untoward and earned two-and-ten for misconduct. Finally, in the third, with the game well beyond retrieval, Brian Lee scored for Ottawa, and Parenteau got the heave-ho for some strident complaining after an unpenalized exchange in front of the Ottawa net had left his stick broken. End result - the ninth whitewash the Isles have suffered this season.
The postgame can be summed up very easily.
Just picture those kids after every goal, and you've got the idea. But Capuano (who is NOT the same guy as in the above) was just as grumpy afterward. Someone (it sounded like Stan Fischler) asked what Cappy said after the first period and he grimly replied, "I don't think you want to hear all of what I told them."
There's no rest for the weary. The battered Isles have alternated wins and losses for the last ten games, and need to rebound from the latest downer. The Buffalo Sabres await them tomorrow night.
Update: Just an aside here, but the Islanders are now 1-5-2 with their Alternate Universe third jerseys. With four scheduled games left with them, it may be time to scrap the black completely.