Alexander Semin scored twice and John Erskine scored his first goal of the season while adding two assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-2 victory over the Islanders Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum. Rob Schremp and Kyle Okposo scored the two Islander goals who now see their record drop to 23-22-8.
The goals came fast and furious Tuesday night with five goals in the first period and three goals in the second.
Washington wasted little time opening the scoring as Brendan Morrison won a face-off within the first minute that came back around and wound up in the back of the Islanders net. Washington defenseman, and former Islander, Erskine gathered the puck at left point and crept down the wall. He waited for Morrison and line-mate Eric Fehr to position themselves in front before he snapped a shot on goal. Erskine shot for Morrison’s stick and the Capital center tipped the puck over the glove of Islanders’ starter Dwayne Roloson for the 1-0 lead.
Semin doubled the Capitals’ lead three minutes later when he ripped a snap shot over Roloson’s glove that the Islander net-minder was screened on. The goal was Semin’s 22nd of the season to give Washington the 2-0 before the five-minute mark of the opening period.
The Islanders would answer with a power-play goal from Schremp at 6:03. With the man-advantage settled down in the Washington zone, Doug Weight took a pass from Trent Hunter at the center point position and dished it to Schremp along the near boards. Schremp took the space in front that the Capitals gave him and just as a defenseman stepped up, he snapped a shot over the glove of Washington starter Jose Theodore that rung off the back bar and in for his sixth goal of the season to cut the Washington lead to 2-1.
With two minutes to play in the first period, Mike Knuble and Semin would tally to put the Capitals up with a commanding 4-1 lead. For Semin, the goal was his second of the game and 23rd of the season while Knuble’s, tally was his 15th of the season.
Erskine was the beneficiary of a perfect back-door feed from the Fehr in the right corner to put the Capitals up 5-1. The Capital defenseman crept in from the left-point and one-timed Fehr’s pass under Rick DiPietro who came in to replace Roloson at the start of the second period. Jason Chimera had the second assist on Erskine’s first goal of the season.
The two teams would trade goals later in the period with Okposo recording his 12th of the season. Josh Bailey tried to send a centering pass to Okposo but the puck deflected off a skate and went behind the net to John Tavares. The Islander rookie, waited for a lane and slid a pass under a Capital defenseman to Okposo in front of fired the puck past Theodore’s right pad to make it 5-2 in favor of Washington. The Capitals answered four minutes later when Chimera scored on a terrific one-on-one effort. He came over the Islanders line and made a quick fake to the boards and then back to the front and before DiPietro could get back in position, Chimera had ripped a shot past the Islander net-minder for his 11th goal of the season, making the score 6-2 through two periods of play.
Laich would tally late in the third period, for his 15th goal of the season to close the scoring at 7-2 in favor of the Capitals.
Washington out-shot the Islanders 33 to 31. The Islanders went 1-for-5 on the power-play and 1-for-2 on the penalty-kill.
The Islanders will hit the road for a four-game road-trip starting against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday from the RBC Center at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the Islanders will return to the Nassau Coliseum and take on the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. For tickets or information on group discounted tickets, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Alexander Semin – 2 goals
2. John Erskine – Scores his first goal of the season and adds two assists
3. Jason Chimera – Scores a goal and an assist
Honorable Mention: Tomas Fleischmann – 2 assists
Change in the C: On December 28, the Capitals traded their captain Chris Clark along with defenseman Milan Jurcina to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Jason Chimera. With Clark moving on, Washington decided to name none other than Alex Ovechkin their new captain with Mike Knuble and Tom Poti wearing the assistant captain’s “A.”
Michal What?: One of the two net-minders that the Capitals used in Tuesday’s game was Michal Neuvirth. After spending most of last season trying to learn how to pronounce Semyon Varlamov (Capitals rookie net-minder that brought the team to the Conference semi-finals), now broadcasters need to learn how to pronounce this new goalie’s name. Both have come from the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, where they won the Calder Cup last season. Neuvirth is pronounced (Noy-Ver-TH).
Shootouts: The Islanders and Capitals have had all three of their matchups this season go to either overtime or a shootout. For the Islanders, Matt Moulson has the best percentage going 3-for-4 with a 75% rate. Rob Schremp is next with a 62.5 rating (5-for-8). Surprisingly, for the Capitals Ovechkin does not have the best percentage in the shootout, going 1-for-5 this season.
Forwards 8 Alex Ovechkin – 19 Nicklas Backstrom – 22 Mike Knuble
21 Brooks Laich – 14 Tomas Fleischmann – 28 Alexander Semin
25 Jason Chimera – 9 Brendan Morrison – 16 Eric Fehr
15 Boyd Gordon – 39 David Steckel – 10 Matt Bradley
Defensemen 3 Tom Poti – 4 John Erskine
27 Karl Alzner– 26 Shaone Morrisonn
55 Jeff Schultz – 52 Mike Green
60 Jose Theodore (starter)
30 Michal Neuvirth