The Islanders skated as staff dressed the arena seats with orange rally towels and several Washington Capital players navigated themselves through the lower bowl as they headed to the visitors dressing room. Back on on Long Island preparing for Game 3 on Sunday, the Isles appeared to have moved on from a tough defeat in Washington on Friday.
"I think we know the situation and we've done a good job all year of moving forward," John Tavares said. "That's what we have to do, especially in a playoff series. We're looking forward to being at home."
New York returns back to the confines of the Coliseum with the series even at 1-1, though it appeared for half of Friday's game that they would be up 2-0 when they got back to Long Island. The Islanders allowed a 3-1 lead slip away and saw the Capitals win 4-3.
It was a familiar tale for the Islanders, who have watched leads evaporate on several occasions during the regular season. In their season finale, the Isles let home-ice get away from them after they fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who came from behind to win in the shootout.
"I just thought for whatever reason -- especially in certain areas of our game that guys saw in game one -- we were a little too passive," Isles' Coach Jack Capuano said. The Islanders didn't play as tight defensively as they did in Game 1 and allowed the Capitals to put 35 shots on net and allowed 82 shot attempts.
"As I told our guys our identity hasn't been that all year," Capuano continued. "We're not a team that plays safe or sits back. We're a team that wants to play on our toes and we want to dictate the pace. I thought last night the second period was when the tide was turned. Our first and third was ok for us, but you have to play a full 60."
One thing that kept being mentioned when Capuano discussed Game 2 with reporters was the zone time the Capitals had in the Islanders end. The visitors from Long Island failed to control the pace of the game the way they had in Game 1 and allowed Washington to keep the puck in their end for long periods of time.
"It starts with puck management," Capuano said when asked how to correct those mistakes. "It all goes back to managing the puck. If you get the puck on the other side of the blue line they have to tag and we can change. It starts with that. [The Capitals] are no different than some of these Anaheim teams and these bigger teams you play against.
"They're going to get zone time. It's how we contain them and how we keep them to the outside... It starts with puck management and trying to execute the breakouts. That's what we can do better there."
The Islanders and Capital will play Game 3 at the Nassau Coliseum at Noon on Sunday.