lose is not a word that carries much optimism for the Islanders any more, because close is a word for losers.

With their coach Jack Capuano hospitalized as he battles kidney stones, the Islanders opened the season last night at the Coliseum with a 2-1 loss to the Devils, one that saw the home team dominate play for extended periods of time but eventually succumb to a team that knows how to win.

"New Jersey is not out to try and break you down," said Doug Weight, who took over for Capuano behind the Islanders' bench. "They're out to try and take away the outside of the rink, put the puck in your zone and play in there. They block shots, they're frustrating.