When the Capitals came into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders at the end of an unusual homestand: every one of the four teams the Caps played had played within the previous 24 hours. Tuesday night, however, the Caps came out looking like the tired team and were shut out for the first time this season.
While the Capitals’ penalty killing at home has been vaunted of late, the Islanders scored on their first power play of the game. Islanders’ star John Tavares banged home a lose puck into a yawning net and the Capitals fell behind at home for the first time in over a month. The goal seemed to put the Capitals on their heels, and the team struggled to hold any semblance of form for the remainder of the period.
Worrisomely, the Caps also came out flat in the second period, making less than crisp passes and struggling to enter the Islanders’ zone. The sloppy, uninspired play came back to bite them again when P.A. Parentaeu intercepted an errant Dmitry Orlov pass in the Capitals defensive zone, and faster than you can say “you know it,” flicked a wrist shot past Tomas Vokoun to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead.
Yet, the Caps were able to find a small bit of momentum towards the end of the second and beginning of the third, they were again unable to sustain any sort of challenge to the Islanders.
Killing the Caps’ chances for any sort of a comeback was a silly cross-checking penalty by Alex Ovechkin. Although the call may have been a bit disputable, it was certainly an ill-advised hit, and one the NHL is trying to legislate out of the game. The Islanders made the Caps pay for their transgression, with P.A. Parentaeu scoring his second of the night on the ensuing power play.
If some wins are team wins, this was definitely a team loss. Not a single player was very noticeable on the ice, and the team didn’t even crack the 20 shot marker – a concerning statistic. The Capitals head to Montreal tomorrow to face the Canadiens.