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Ailing John Tavares likely to sit out again Tuesday night

New York Islanders center John Tavares skates onto

New York Islanders center John Tavares skates onto the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes to start the first period of a game at Barclays Center on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

John Tavares' illness hasn't gotten better. His fellow Islanders will have to get better on the ice without their captain, having scored only three goals in the two games Tavares has missed.

It appears certain Tavares, who fell ill Saturday morning, will miss a third game Tuesday night when the Devils come to Barclays Center.

"He's still not feeling well," Jack Capuano said after the team practiced without Tavares at IceWorks on Monday. "Obviously there's some concern. I don't expect him to be back with us for a little bit."

The Islanders weren't totally lost without Tavares; it only looked that way in the standings, with the Isles losing in a shootout to the Devils in Newark on Saturday and blowing a third-period lead to lose in regulation at home to the Sabres on Sunday.

"We gave up 37 [actually 39] shots in two games, we just didn't win," Capuano said. "As well as we played, we need to find some offense or else the story line is just going to keep coming up."

The Islanders are winless in their past three games (0-1-2), having squandered third-period leads in two of them. Inconsistency has been their calling card, especially at even strength. The Isles' power play is ranked second in the NHL at 28.6 percent (8-for-28) and their penalty kill is ranked first at 92.3 percent (36-for-39).

"If we were even halfway decent five-on-five, we'd be OK," Kyle Okposo said. "We've got to be better five-on-five when the special teams are really clicking like they have been."

Capuano switched the left wings on his top two lines Monday, creating an Anders Lee-Frans Nielsen-Okposo top line and a Josh Bailey-Brock Nelson-Ryan Strome second line. As it stands during this three-game slide, the Isles have scored two even-strength goals and the fourth line of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck were on for both.

Capuano reiterated his feeling that young Isles forwards Lee, Nelson and Strome had more to give.

"We have too many veteran guys working too hard," he said, "and some other guys just not holding their weight."


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