The New York Islanders played run-and-gun hockey with the wrong team Tuesday night, falling 6-2 to the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.
The Islanders normally stingy penalty kill couldn’t withstand a second-period barrage from the Capitals, as the Caps scored five goals – including three on the power play – in the middle frame. The Isles entered the game with the league’s second-best road penalty kill, but went 3-for-7 on the PK.
“We basically handed 20 minutes over and the result was them scoring (five) goals,” Casey Cizikas said. “A high-scoring team like that, they definitely showed us that we can’t be taking stupid penalties.”
The Islanders took a 1-0 into the second period, but the game was blown wide open, as the teams combined for five goals in a 5:04 span. By 8:10, it was 4-2 Capitals.
John Carlson opened the floodgates for the Caps at 3:06, skating in alone to the top of the circle after blocking a Thomas Hickey clearing attempt and catching the Isles going the other way. Carlson made no mistake, going stick side on Evgeni Nabokov.
Following Carlson’s goal, Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Alex Urbom all scored in the next five minutes. Ovechkin’s and Johansson’s goals both came with the man advantage and Ovechkin finished the night with two power-play goals.
“That was a big goal that Carlson scored there, but it comes down to special teams and they won the battle tonight,” head coach Jack Capuano said.
Kyle Okposo responded for the Isles 17 seconds after Ovechkin’s first, going top shelf on Braden Holtby to tie the score at two. The draw was short-lived, as Johansson banged in a rebound to put the Caps on top 3-2. Urbom slapped home his first goal of the season at 8:10 to cap the frantic five minutes.
The Islanders couldn’t get out of the period at 4-2, as Ovechkin scored his second power-play goal at 17:18, converting a one-timer off a cross-ice feed from Johansson.
“We knew what they were coming to the game with, Ovi on the point and Ovi being a shooter,” Cizikas said. “As a center, I have to do a better job of winning those draws to the boards, or tying up somehow better. Two goals resulted on lost draws and bang-bang right after. That’s something I need to work on.”
The Islanders power play stat line wasn’t any better, as the team went 0-for-5 with the man advantage. John Tavares scored his seventh just as Mikhail Grabovski stepped out of the box, but despite converting a pass from Frans Nielsen on a power-play formation, the goal was credited as even strength.
Rookie Matt Donovan got a look on the power play and was on the ice for the Tavares goal.
“I’m comfortable out there playing the power play,” Donovan said. “I just have to keep working hard and hopefully I’ll get some more time out there.”
In goal, Nabokov suffered only the second regulation loss of his career against the Capitals. Nabokov stopped 33 of 39 shots, while his counterpart, Holtby, made 34 saves in the win.
The Islanders travel to Raleigh, NC to take on the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
With a goal and an assist Tuesday, Okposo has recorded three straight multi-point games and has seven points (one goal, six assists) in that span… John Tavares’s first period goal was his seventh of the season… Andrew MacDonald led all players with 26:29 TOI
Martin Erat – Niklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Brooks Laich – Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta - Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Nate Schmidt – Mike Green
Alex Urbom - Steve Olesky