Photo credit: Mike Stobe
After ripping up Carolina like (forgive us) a hurricane, the Caps hopped on plane and flew on up to the Island to take on Tavares & co. The Isles were looking to break a six game losing streak and it didn’t start well for them — it ended differently.
Joel Ward opened the scoring 5:24 into the game when he batted the rebound from John Carlson’s point blast out of the air, did a fancy-dancy 180º spin and fired the puck top shelf on Rick DiPeitro. Later in the period, skating four-on-four, Alex Ovechkin took a twirl behind the net, dished it off to Nicky Backstrom, before one-time’ing number 19′s feed into the back of the net at light-speed.
Just under two minutes into the second, however, the Isles got one back when Frans Nielsen scooped up a big rebound and potted it five-hole on Tomas Vokoun. I’m not saying it was a weak goal, just that it was as soft as my ferrets (they’re really soft, just to make sure we’re totally clear here). Then, in the waning minutes of the frame, Brian Rolston got in on the action with — stop us if you’ve heard this before — a five-hole cheapy on Tomas. The man must be upset Neuvy got a bobblehead today and not him.
The third period… well, it wasn’t pretty for Washington. Six minutes in, the Islanders took their first lead of the night when Matt Martin flipped in the rebound on the backhand while falling over. Graceful. Brooks Laich, however, doesn’t like (it took all our strength not to spell that differently) losing and three minutes later he rifled a wrister top-shelf on the power-play. All tied up. And, for a while, it looked like we might be getting some O.T., but with 106 ticks left on the clock, P.A. Parenteau tapped in — wait for it — the rebound off Milan Jurcina’s shot that squeezed through — wait for it again — Vokoun’s five-hole. Forty-five seconds later John Tavares sealed the deal with the empty-netter. Sigh. Isles down Caps, 5-3.
- So I had it all planned out. My first bullet was going to say I’m not sure which is worse: the Islanders or their non-existent fans. But then Brian Rolston scored in the second period and CSN panned to these adorable little boogers. Ugh. Not helping, guys! Then after Martin scored in the third period, Locker said “it sounds like an Isles playoff game during the eighties in here.” Eff! Okay, forget it.
- Tonight marks the first time the Islanders have beat the Capitals in regulation since Oct. 18, 2007. Ugh.
- Tomas Vokoun was spectacular in the opening period, turning away 11 Islanders shots and giving a tired Caps team a legitimate shot at winning. Then the second and third periods happened and the wheels came completely off the Vokeswagen. On Nielsen’s goal, the defense sagged meekly, but it was Vokoun who gave up a huge rebound and then failed to get his stick down on the backhander that went in. On Rolston’s goal, Tomas once again failed to get his goalie stick in proper position to make an easy save. Finally, on Parenteau’s game-winner, he couldn’t hold onto Milan Jurcina’s shot from the point. Like my faucet in college, Tomas was real leaky. With tonight’s loss, he still holds the bizarre distinction of never winning at Nassau Coliseum.
- Brooks Laich might have scored the game-tying goal, but it was Alex Ovechkin‘s rump which made it happen. As Ovi crossed in front of the net, DePietro lost sight of the puck which allowed Laich to hit the top corner of the net with a perfectly placed wrist shot. Wait, did I really just type that? Shouldn’t there have been 45 fancy passes and then a slap-shot that misses the net and karooms all the way back into their defensive zone? I guess things HAVE changed from last year. And hey, the rest of Alex Ovechkin also played well tonight. His nifty moves in the offensive zone drew the interference minor on Steve Staios which led to Laich’s salvo. His one-time goal during the first period was also made possible because of some awesome cycling between him and Nick Backstrom. I love how Ovechkin’s finding different ways to score and contribute.
- Speaking of Nick Backstrom, with his two assists tonight, he now has 18 points on the year which is good for third place in the NHL. Talk about a bounce back year.
- Dennis Wideman was a -4. Mathieu Perreault was a -3.
- At one point during the first period, Islanders fans were chanting Al Montoya’s name. There’s no punch line. Islanders fans were chanting Al Montoya’s name. How awful must it be to a fan of this team? If the Capitals could have gotten another goal early in the second period, they could have blown this game wide-open. Instead, we’re stuck here wondering what might have been.
If you were wondering why this recap was more awful than usual, Peter was living it up tonight at our expense. (Really? You’re going to diss us for a 10 year high school reunion? I know your friends, Peter. I went to Frederick High too. There’s no way they’re cooler than a Saturday night Islanders game. Oh wait, reading Jane Eyre sober is cooler than writing about a Saturday night Islanders game.) No worries though, he’ll be back Tuesday when the Stars come to town.
The Capitals really need to reflect after this one. Yes, it’s only their third loss of the year, but this is a bad one. The team simply stopped playing in the second period and never was able to regain momentum after that. How much should we blame Boudreau for screwing with the lines and scratching Cody Eakin, a day after scoring his first NHL goal? You tell us in the comments below.
Additional words by Chris Gordon (everything from the bullets up; you know, the parts that don’t require you to know anything).