Islanders-Blue Jackets Preview
The Columbus Blue Jackets are enduring their longest losing streak in two seasons, causing coach Todd Richards to say that "the gloves gotta come off" in order to motivate his team.
New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano is looking to somehow kick-start his team's floundering power play.
The Blue Jackets will try to avoid losing six straight in regulation for the first time in seven seasons Saturday night when they host the Islanders, who have gone a season-worst six straight games without a power-play goal.
Columbus (5-10-0) fell 4-2 at home to the Rangers on Thursday in a game the Blue Jackets felt was far worse than the final score.
''That was embarrassing hockey tonight,'' Richards said. ''That's losing hockey, the way we played. We got exactly what we deserved. It could have been 7-1 going into the third period."
Columbus is on its longest winless stretch since a 0-5-1 skid Dec. 15-27, 2011. The Blue Jackets last dropped six in a row in regulation from Nov. 10-20, 2006.
"I guess the gloves gotta come off somewhat as far as things that we do is probably the best way to say it," Richards said.
The mood isn't much better for the Metropolitan Division rival Islanders (6-7-3), who fell 1-0 at Carolina on Thursday. New York went 0 for 3 on the power play and is 0 for 21 during a 2-4-0 stretch.
"I didn't think we generated enough on that power play so it's something that we have to take a look at and get better at for sure," Capuano said.
Kyle Okposo amassed six points during a three-game run prior to Thursday. Only three of his team-high 19 points have come on the power play.
"I think our work ethic needs to be better for Columbus on Saturday," Okposo said.
One player familiar to New York will be Marian Gaborik, a nemesis during his days with the Rangers. Gaborik had 18 goals and 10 assists in 20 games against the Islanders while playing for their local rivals.
The winger was held without a point in the Blue Jackets' 3-2 shootout win on Long Island on Oct. 5. He has failed to score in every game of this losing streak, ending a four-game pointless streak with an assist Thursday.
Like Richards, center Brandon Dubinsky questioned Columbus' effort against the Rangers.
''We need to take a hard look in the mirror, as an individual and as a team,'' Dubinsky said. ''Then we need to find a way to correct it. It should be the easiest thing to correct. I mean, really, it's not a systematic thing or a teaching thing."
"It's a big game and obviously they've got a pretty good team and we played them earlier and they skate and they work and we've got to match their intensity level," Capuano said.