Despite a 6-3 win over their hated rivals, Jack Capuano was not thrilled with his New York Islanders team. Pleased, but not thrilled. The team broke out in the third period to run away with the game, but that came only after Jaroslav Halak kept them in the game with a 20-save second period.
In his post-game scrum (video embedded above), he touched on a variety of topics. Some of the highlights:
Jaroslav Halak: What he's paid to do
Second period of his was big. … Yeah, it's good, that's what he's paid to do. … Give Halak credit, because he kept us in it and gave us a chance in the third to win the hockey game.
Explaining the turnaround from the second to the third period
The whole game changed because of puck management. It's a situation that hurt us last year quite a bit. We turn pucks over, they come the other way, we make it a short track instead of a 200-foot game, we get ourselves in trouble. So after the second period, we addressed it. We weren't getting pucks on net. We [started getting] pucks on net. You saw what happened.
In all fairness, this is the first game we've generated five-on-five offense. The first couple games was our power play doing the damage. I came in after the second asking how we were going to generate offense outside of the powerplay. [In the third] I was pleased to see our D started getting involved, we started grinding it out, getting pucks behind the goal line. Brock Nelson's goal was a great example.
About Ryan Strome
Capuano was asked about Ryan Strome -- the reporter looking for praise after the forward's assist in the third. Capuano wasn't in a fawning mood, and his answer transitioned the scrum to a broader theme.
First, on Strome:
He was average tonight. He was average. It's a situation where … one shift he had three turnovers. He's a skilled guy, he's a young guy, it's about knowing who you're out there against, it's about habits, attention to detail, puck management. What I like about our team, some of the veteran guys let him know.
The talk of "veteran guys" letting Strome know led to a broader question about the group this year.
We have a more mature [group]. What I like about the team, I said this in training camp: It's about accountability, and it starts with them. The great teams have that in the locker room. It starts with them. It starts with the individual, then it's their teammates, then it's the coaching staff. So I like the fact that when we're not playing how we need to play, guys are stepping up. It's tough to give your teammate a little kick in the butt there, and I'm seeing more and more of that.
On that, and what about the second period:
I was disappointed in the second period because the things we talk about weren't happening. Twenty-five-second shifts become 50 seconds. Not winning the change game. [Not] placing pucks where they need to be placed, grinding it out, doing the right things. We just got too individualistic, tried to do too much, weren't using our points in the offensive zone, weren't playing as a unit of five.
There's more in the video above, also available directly on the Isles site here.
But those were some of the pertinent highlights on a night where the majority of New York hockey media's eyes were on this game.