It’s the second game in a row in which the Islanders and Capitals had to go to an extra period, only there was a much different outcome. John Tavares had something to do with the game winning play, but he was on the losing end of it. Nicklas Backstrom took advantage of the Islanders captain losing his stick, Backstrom fired a shot through traffic from near the blue line. While he said he was ‘ just trying to put the puck on net’, his shot snuck inside the upper left post to give Washington the win. The series will now head back to DC for game 5, the momentum changing once again.
It was the Capitals that would score first in this game, Alex Ovechkin was the culprit as he deflected a shot from teammate John Carlson, his second goal of this series. The Islanders responded with a goal near the end of the opening period as Cal Clutterbuck fired a shot on Braden Holtby that was blocked but generated a rebound. Casey Cizikas was all over the loose puck, as he was slashing in from the left and tapped it in.
With the scoring behind them in the first period, the two teams fought tooth and nail for the remaining two periods of regulation. The Islanders would leave this game with more than a few regrets, the biggest would be not capitalizing on power play opportunities.
New York had four of those opportunities in this game, they came up empty each time. The Capitals were able to kill off each of those penalties, in fact Washington has killed off every Islander power play this series. This is a key factor in this series, while it’s currently at two games a piece, if the Islanders don’t advance they will look at all of those empty situations and wonder what could have been. Even now, they must wonder where they’d be in this series if they’d been able to convert a third of those chances.
Then, there’s this peculiar nugget. The Capitals have now scored three goals in this series when an Islander has lost or broken their stick. Washington’s been able to take advantage of those opportunities, two goals in Game 2 and the game winning goal last night.
The net minding was fantastic last night, both goalies came up big on several occasions. Jaroslov Halak stopped several point blank shots, including a couple of breakaway situations. He stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced last night for the Islanders. Washington’s Holtby was just a bit better, facing 37 shots and surrendering the one goal. The Islanders outshot the Capitals 37-30, Holtby’s 36 saves were a large reason that Washington made it to the extra period especially with the Islanders having four power plays.
Game 5 is tomorrow night at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. With the series tied at two a piece, Game 5 is pivotal.