The New York Islanders were just 47.1 seconds shy of giving rookie goaltender Nathan Lawson his first career shutout, but Brooks Laich tied the score for the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin scored in the overtime session to steal a 2-1 decision at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.
“We battled so hard for 59 minutes,” Lawson said. “To come away with just one point is unacceptable.”
Lawson played extremely well, making 40 saves through 61:53 of play. While it should have been enough to earn Lawson his first career shutout, when the Capitals pulled Michal Neuvirth from the net with 1:03 remaining in regulation, they took a 6-on-5 advantage and applied an extreme amount of pressure down deep in the Isles defensive zone.
Then as Laich waited in the slot, his game-tying goal with 47.1 seconds left in regulation gave the Capitals the extra push.
“The crowd was back in to it, so they were feeding off of that,” Lawson said. “We had a few chances in overtime right off the bat, so I wouldn’t say they had all the momentum, but (Alex) Ovechkin made a great move there and won the game for them.”
Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano said his team played well. “We battled hard,” he said. “I thought Nathan (Lawson) kept us in the game. He made some terrific saves. Shots were 9-1 right off the bat. They came pretty hard.”
Matt Moulson scored his team-leading 28th goal of the season to take a 1-0 lead at 10:08 of the second period. Isles center John Tavares stole the puck in the neutral zone, passed to PA Parenteau entering the offensive zone and a clear pass through the slot to the right faceoff circle found Moulson for a one-timer.
“It was a great backcheck by Johnny (Tavares), a good strip and the pass ended up being, I didn’t really get all of it, but I was luckily I got one through five-hole,” Moulson said about his goal.
Even though the Isles took away two losses in the home-and-home series with the Capitals, Moulson said, “The two games against them, I thought we played well.”
He continued, “We broke down for just a little bit there and the guys they have on that team, if you give them chances, they’re going to get goals. Their last goal was just a great player making a great play.”
Coming off of four losses (two in overtime), the Isles will have to regroup fast as they take on the Minnesota Wild in the second half of back-to-back games Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Parenteau said that the team needs to learn from this experience.
“I think we should be proud of the effort we put forth tonight,” Parenteau said. “But we have to learn. Those kind of games have to be wins for us. We played a pretty strong game. They had a lot of chances, but we were pretty strong, we made some plays and we had a pretty good game. We should have come up with a win, but a couple bad breaks and a really nice play by Ovi (Ovechkin) there at the end.”