Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The story of Saturday night’s game could be summed up by the look of frustration on the face of Colin McDonald afterwards.
The Islanders were 48.9 seconds away from snapping their five-game losing streak until Nicklas Backstrom dashed their hopes by scoring a shorthanded goal to tie the game. Alexander Ovechkin scored 2:07 into overtime to get the 3-2 win for the Washington Capitals and extend the Isles rough patch to 2-10-1 in their last 13.
“We gotta find a way to win that game,” McDonald said frustratedly. The Islanders gave a better performance than the previous five games and were the better team for most of the game. New York outshot and out chanced the Capitals, but at the end of the night they still could not come away with two points.
The Capitals carried a one goal lead into the third period, but it quickly disappeared after Cal Clutterbuck was able to score on a shorthanded breakaway at 3:59. The game remained tied until the final two minutes, when Thomas Vanek was able to put a loose puck past Braden Holtby to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
But like so many games before, a mistake cost the Isles big time.
With the Islanders on the power play, Jason Chimera was able to send a pass from behind the net to Backstrom in front and tie the game in the final minute. Ovechkin won it for Washington by score from the top of the slot.
“It’s just a couple mistakes here and there, and I think as a line we didn’t do the job on that last shift,” John Tavares said following the loss. “That’s not good enough. We have to bear down and do the little things. Fundamental things that are part of the game. We got to be accountable on that and it’s not good enough with a power play, man-advantage, that we allow them to tie it up. It’s just not good enough.”
Tavares’s line was on the ice when Backstrom tied the game in the third and it was not something that Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano envisioned could have happened when he sent them out there. “That was the last thing I expected when you got those five guys on the ice to happen, but it happened,” he said.
It may have been the Islanders best performance during their skid, but it was far from perfect. The Isles did not convert on several golden opportunities given to them, including a chance by Kyle Okposo to put the puck into a virtual empty net during a power play, and the team’s passing was rough at times.
However the Islanders effort was much better than the night before when the Red Wings rolled over them 5-0.
“I think it was there tonight,” Capuano said referring to the team’s effort. “… You take a step in the right direction. It was probably one of the best third periods we’ve played all year. The second got away from us a little bit, but we defended hard. They’ve got some skilled guys. I thought we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish tonight and we got the lead in the third. Just frustrating that it has to end that way.”