The Islanders are underdogs headed into their opening round series against the Washington Capitals. Head coach Jack Capuano knows that, and he's perfectly fine with it.
"Everybody is picking Washington," he told Newsday. "I like being the underdog . . . They look at the brackets and the people on TV -- the TV's running every morning seeing who they're picking. For us, we might be the underdog, but I'm stressing how good of a team they are. We finished with 101 points for a reason."
The Islanders and Capitals split the season series 2-2, with each team winning in their home building. The Islanders are 2-2-2 in their last six visits to the Verizon Center and are 9-7 in 16 road playoff games against the Capitals.
"It doesn't mean nothing," Johnny Boychuk told Newsday. "People can make predictions, but the playoffs are a new season."
Jack Capuano has had that "us against the world" mentality all season. He has often gone out of his way to mention that reporters -- even the ones that cover the team on a regular basis -- did not expect the Islanders to be as high in the standings as they were most of the season. That seems to be the mentality of the team, especially for the players who have been with the Islanders for a while.
They are used to the media counting them out automatically or not giving them much of a chance. A lot of times the players say they don't listen to what the media or people are writing or saying on social media, but they are very cognizant of it.This year's Islander team has thrived under the us vs them mentality. The Islanders will need to get that extra jump in the postseason and if seeing the pundits pick the Capitals over the Isles is what it takes to find it, then so be it.