Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:A five-goal second period by the Washington Capitals, a lackluster penalty kill and poor defensive play sunk the Islanders Tuesday, as the Isles fell 6-2 to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
One game after the Islanders had a good defensive performance, the team returned to less than stellar form. New York’s penalty kill played poorly, allowing Washington to score on four of five power play chances, and defensive breakdowns led to the other two Capital goals.
“You give up four power play goals you’re not going to win a hockey game,” Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said after the game. “It was 2-2 there. We were in great D-zone coverage and then we turn the puck over. That was a big goal that Carlson scored there, but again it comes down to special teams and they won the battle tonight. To me it’s some details and some awareness on our penalty kill, and we just didn’t get it done tonight.”
The Islanders had a 1-0 lead going into the second period; John Tavares scored nearly six minutes into the game to put his team ahead. New York controlled the tempo for the opening minutes of the second, but a poor clearing attempt by Kyle Okposo led to Washington tying the game at 3:06. Moments after the goal, Cal Clutterbuck set up the Capitals for their first power play goal. Alexander Ovechkin scored right off the face-off to put Washington ahead 2-1.
17 seconds later Kyle Okposo answered back for the Islanders to tie the game up at two, but it did not take long for Washington to regain the lead.
Marcus Johansson scored the Capitals second power play goal at 6:50 and Alexander Urbom gave the Caps a 4-2 lead moments later. Ovechkin scored his second power play goal of the game with 2:42 left in the second period to put Washington ahead 5-2.
Tom Wilson made it 6-2 after he scored his first career NHL goal late in the third period. Wilson’s goal also came on the man-advantage.
“Bottom line our special teams were terrible tonight,” Matt Martin said after the loss. “Especially the penalty kill. We didn’t do a very good job… Just not good enough. We’re not going to win games if we’re going to give up that many goals.”
Along with the Isles struggles on the penalty kill, the team’s power play did not capitalize on five power play chances.
“The difference is four power play goals,” Capuano said. “Some guys could have played better, I understand that, but at the end of the day your special teams aren’t clicking and it could cost you.”
After the game Islander starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who made 33 saves in the loss, said that his team’s consistency hasn’t been there.
“Well I think the consistency is not there,” he said. “Defensively consistency and discipline consistency. We can have one period and we can have it 10 minutes of doing whatever we want to do, but on the positive note I think we have 30-35 minute of good hockey and play well. But they took their opportunities and capitalized on their chances.”
With the Islanders headed to Carolina next for a matchup with the Hurricanes, Capuano hinted at some potential lineup changes. Following Tuesday’s game he said he “didn’t like the Nielsen line at all.”
“They didn’t generate too much tonight,” he continued. “We gotta just find a little bit of chemistry. Johnny’s line played pretty well offensively, they had some chances, so we’ll review it and make some decisions.