After Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout at 5:35 of the second period, his team was revitalized and battled back from a two-goal deficit to score three unanswered goals and steal a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
“As a team, we need to talk about that, when they call a timeout and not let that happen,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said. “We got away from our game in the third period and gave them a couple chances and they capitalized.”
Isles goaltender Al Montoya, who stopped 28 of 31 shots he faced, agreed with Okposo.
“Well, you give them a little bit of life, and they can run away with it,” Montoya said. “They’re a skilled team. We had shut them down for the most part, and then you give them a little bit of life, and they came out firing. In the second they took the momentum over. Their goalie played well. We had our chances, and we were unable to put it away.”
Travis Hamonic #36 of the New York Islanders tries to defend against a shot by Brooks Laich #21 of the Washington Capitals on February 26, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Brooks Laich cut the goal differential in half when he came through the left side of the offensive zone and shot five-hole through traffic at 9:44 of the second period. Then 2:24 into the third period, Mike Knuble evened the score at two as he crashed the net and backhanded a pass from Laich out front of crease.
Alexander Semin scored the game winner at 5:21 as he and Alex Ovechkin worked through the Isles defensive zone and wristed a lightning fast shot off the post and the rebound snuck past Montoya, who had virtually no chance to stop the puck from crossing the goal line.
Okposo said there was no excuse for the space the Isles were giving them.
“You just can’t do it,” Okposo said. “You obviously know they were having a little trouble scoring goals (as the Capitals lost 6-0 to the Rangers the night before) and they were going to come out and work tonight. They have high skill and we let them off the hook tonight.”
He continued, “They came out and chipped pucks. That’s all they did all night. They had their wingers posted at the red light and they chipped pucks and we got away from that a little bit and it cost us.”
But momentum wasn’t always in the hands of the Capitals.
The Islanders came out hard in the first period, outshooting the Capitals 14-5 and they were rewarded when Kyle Okposo converted, scoring a beautiful goal at 13:45 to bring the Isles ahead 1-0. He faked out Karl Alzner with a fake and drag through the slot, firing off a wrist shot.
Then Travis Hamonic started the second period with a bang, scoring an unassisted goal on the first shift, just 33 seconds into the period. His slap shot, from 58 feet out on the blue line, flew past Michal Neuvirth to bring the Isles ahead 2-0.
The loss will most definitely be hard felt for the Isles young team, but now they have two days off before having a chance for redemption in a rematch when they take on the Capitals at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.