“This should be a lesson that we learned two weeks ago.” That’s Travis Hamonic, who always wears his heart on his sleeve, telling you all you need to know about what happened tonight. The Islanders held a 4-2 at the end of the second — up as much as 4-1 at one point — and let the Capitals tie in the third before falling in a shoot out. It was the third such lead in a row relinquished. Luckily, at this point the results don’t matter so much. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for both team and fans.
Some bright spots were both Matt Moulson and John Tavares hitting the 30 goal plateau in the same game. Tavares had two tallies and Moulson one, to put them both square on the mark. The second was a great tic-tac-toe play, helped in by the aforementioned Hamonic who did all he could with three points tonight. The thirty-goal duo is tied for 9th in the league with players such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Jordan Eberle and Max Pacioretty.
In the third, the Islanders gave up a goal early to let Washington creep to within one. The early period goals being something that occurs far too often for this team. The Caps would tie it later in on a goal from Alex Ovechkin, who despite not having an Alex Ovechkin-like season, still has 29 goals on the year. He ripped a one-timer from the high slot and was allowed to rebound attempts, finally cashing in on the second. Evgeni Nabokov did a great job to stop the first two chances but when left alone with Ovie for three shots on net, there isn’t a goalie in the league who’s going to come out on top.
After a scoreless overtime period it was onto the shoot out which was certainly an interesting one. Frans Nielsen led off for the Islanders and the patented backhand of justice somehow failed, hitting the post. After a Washington miss Tavares and Ovechkin both completed their chances, Tavares earning the won’t-count-on-the-scoresheet hat trick. Matt Moulson was stopped and that’s where it got weird. Capitals Coach Who Shall Not Be Named sent out defender Dmitri Orlov, which was bizarre enough in only the third round of the shootout. But looking at what’s left on the Capitals bench after Ovechkin and Semin, there isn’t exactly a ton of goal scoring talent. To follow would be another defenseman, this time Mark Streit for the Islanders.
As weird as that was to see, Streit is an offensive defenseman and shootout regular PA Parenteau was not in the lineup so I don’t have as much an issue with it as some on Twitter do. However, with Streit getting the call over both Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo, it’s safe to say that at least the former is well in the coach’s doghouse after this and the healthy scratch last week. Matt Hendricks, with all of four goals on the year, would finish the shootout for the Caps with really an excellent move that Nabokov had no chance on. You have to think Hendricks borrowed that one from one of his offensively gifted Russian teammates because that was quite a move.
Next up for the Islanders are the Flyers at the Coliseum on Thursday.