Breaking Down the Islanders’ OTGWG in Game Three

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

The Washington Capitals lost just fifteen seconds into overtime of game three, and it was totally preventable.

After a comedy of errors and poor decisions by the Capitals, John Tavares chipped a loose puck over Braden Holtby‘s shoulder to give the Islanders a 2-1 series lead.

I asked former Caps blogger Eric Rigsby– a coach, an ex-college club player, and current Old Fat Bald Guys hockey player– to break down the play for us.

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chimeraJT

Photo from NHL.com

John Tavares is one of the best hockey players on the planet. If the New York Islanders hope to take down Alex Ovechkin, the best hockey player on the planet, and the Washington Capitals, Tavares will have to play a leading role. So, quite obviously, one of the Caps primary concerns when game planning is shutting down the Isles superstar center.

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Braden Holtby was fantastic for the Washington Capitals on Saturday, making 32 stops in the team’s 3-2 shootout victory over the New York Islanders. Unfortunately, we can’t award him with the save of the game. That honor goes to Eric Fehr‘s stick.

No, not Eric Fehr, silly. Eric Fehr’s magical hockey stick.

In the third period, as John Tavares tried to bang home the game-tying goal with 1:04 left, he clanged the puck hard off the post. The puck ricocheted high into the air where a falling Fehr lost control of his hockey stick. Instead of falling to the ice like a normal hockey stick would, Fehr’s twig decided hey, lemme just make this save for Holtby while I’m up here.

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All This Happened, More or Less: Isles Beat Caps 3-2 (OT)

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Photo credit: Al Bello

“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

For years, the Islanders have made that quote ring true. Confused ownership, terrible hockey and of course Nassau Colosseum. The old place will soon be gone from our TV screens. The smell, the lighting, the architecture, the scoreboard stolen from the local high school. So it goes.

Now, though, the Islanders are moving on. Pretty soon they’ll playing their games in a decedent building in Brooklyn. They’re also now good at hockey. The Caps had trouble with that tonight.

The first period was mostly dominated by the Isles. Anders Lee put them up top after John Carlson failed to cling to his man. Washington then released a small furry of shots before Alex Ovechkin got the Caps back in it with another one of them goals from the circle place when his team has more people on the ice. Travis Hamonic then gave New York the lead again when his high flying wrist shot made it past an effectively blindfolded Braden Holtby.

The second was mostly Isles, but the Caps came on towards the end. The Isles took another unnecessary penalty and Ovi did The Thing. 2-2.

Isles pressed in the third but there was nothing doing.

In the extra, scrapeless frame, Nicky grabbed someone’s stick. John Tavares threw his hands in the air. That’s all. Isles beat Caps 3-2 (OT).

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Matt Moulson Named His Child After George McPhee

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Recently traded Buffalo Sabres’ winger Matt Moulson had a child on October 11th. The baby boy is named George, which is not really an uncommon name. We didn’t think twice about it until Newsday’s Mark Herrman chimed in.

Yep, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee is the reason (or one of the reasons) why Moulson’s second child is named George.

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Ovi for Hart, Part II: Because the Capitals Needed Him

Andre Ringuette

Photo credit: Andre Ringuette

Earlier I wrote about how the Hart Trophy was a poorly defined award of limited value. Now I’ll share why I think Alex Ovechkin absolutely must have it. I’m going to share some stats and rebut some excuses, but the whole thing boils down to this: the Capitals needed the best from Ovechkin, and he delivered it.

But first, I’m going to repeat what we talked about before. This is the most valuable player to his team, not just the best all-around player. If we’re talking best player? I’d say it’s Sidney Crosby. Hands down. But most valuable? And to his team? That’s a more interesting conversation. And now, baby, you’ve got a stew going.

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Photo credit: Alex Brandon

Mike Green is a lot of things: a two-time Norris nominee, a generous human, and the beefy crush-object of thousands of women in the tri-state area. On Tuesday, however, he was a goat (and I don’t mean the Greatest of All-Time).

With five minutes to go in regulation and the game tied 2-2, Brooks Laich‘s cross-ice dump-in was swatted down by John Tavares. Tavares sent the puck into the Caps’ zone, which is where all the crazy happened. Laich sent a weak pass behind the net to Mike Green. The puck bounced off both boards and the back of the net, finally coming to rest dangerously near the crease. With Matt Moulson pressuring, Green tried to put the puck through his legs. Instead, the puck hit his skates and stopped. Moulson picked it up and fed Tavares for an easy game-winner.

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Rollercoaster! Caps beat Isles 5-4 (SO)

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The Washington Capitals began their epic road trip with a stop on the Long Island and its New York Islanders. The game saw the worst and best of the Caps, but it ended the right way.

Matt Moulson scored the game’s first goal, a fluke so dumbfounding I feel drunk trying to explain it. Matt Moulson scored a power play goal off of John Carlson. John Tavares notched another power play goal at the halfway point, but Dennis Wideman returned fire a few seconds later. Before a comeback could gain momentum, Tavares found the back of the net again.  Before the end of the second, Alex Ovechkin caught a rebound and turned it into goal.

Scoarlov.

Alex Ovechkin took three stabs at a puck from descending distances before beating Nabokov and tying the game. Overtime was not OV time, so we needed a shootout to make a decision. Matt Hendricks is your shootout hero! Caps beat Isles 5-4 (SO).

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“What is this doing here?”

Halfway through the first period of Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game, Matt Moulson sent a shot towards Michal Neuvirth‘s net. Neuvy got his blocker on it — sending the puck flying into the glass.

That should’ve been the end of that, but the puck bounced back over the net, as if being guided by Satan himself, and deflected off Neuvirth’s erogenous zone before going in the net.

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Editor’s note: Neil Greenberg is not currently affiliated with RMNB and was not consulted for this article.

During Saturday’s game between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes, play-by-play announcer Howie Rose criticized Neil Greenberg’s list of the top 25 players under 25 for ESPN.com (paywall, but it’s worth it). That list does not include NYI’s John Tavares, who has a team-best 46 points in his third year in the NHL.

During the discussion, Rose calls Neil a “housebound agraphobe.” We can assume he means agoraphobe, since agraphobe is a made-up word that would mean “fear of farmland” or something. Rose runs standard operating procedure for character assassination of a blogger. Four-time Stanley Cup winner Butch Goring joins the routine and accuses Neil of being a provocateur. It’s a comprehensive ad hominem screed, except that they do not mention Neil by name at any point during the two-minute, telecast-padding exercise:

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