ISLANDERS 5, CAPITALS 2 — Tavares Reaches Career Milestone In Win Over Caps

Christian Arnold , Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Islanders wrapped up their seven-game home stand with a win Saturday afternoon, beating the Washington Capitals 5-2.

It was John Tavares who broke the 2-2 deadlock on the power play at the 12:13 mark of the third period. He would score seconds later and record his 100th career NHL goal to put the Isles up 4-2.

The win was a good way for the Isles to end their seven game home stand. They now have eight points in their last five games.

“Everything is really tight and all these games are big,” Tavares said after the game. “This was a good way to finish at home, for sure, and we know we have a tough one tomorrow.”

New York struck first at the 10:46 mark of the first period. Josh Bailey was on the finishing end of a pass from Frans Nielsen and the Islanders took the 1-0 lead. The Capitals answered back 1:26 into the second period on the power play. Mathieu Perreault was able to bounce a shot off the skate of Travis Hamonic, who was in front of the net, and tie the game at one.

Colin McDonald was able to steal the puck from Alexander Ovechkin in the neutral zone.  On the ensuing odd man rush Matt Martin fed Casey Cizikas, who fired a wrist shot past Phillipp Grubauer, and gave the Islanders back the lead midway through the second.

The Caps put the pressure on in the third and tied the game, again, at the 7:09 mark.

But with 11:12 left to play Mike Ribeiro was called for high sticking. As he was headed into the penalty box he slammed the door and the official gave him an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.  The Islanders specials teams unit took full advantage as Tavares scored as time wound down on the second penalty to RiBeiro.

“I got a good bounce,” Tavares said of the goal. “Just wanted to make sure to be sure on it and it went it. It was a good goal, good timing and nice for it to come through in a big way.”

The Islanders would go back onto the power play moments later after Jeff Schultz received a double minor for high sticking Andrew MacDonald.

Tavares would score eight seconds into the power play, but because the shot initially looked to have been stopped, play continued until Matt Moulson scored. The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately rewarded to Tavares, though Moulson did receive an assist on it.

Frans Nielsen scored shorthanded at the 16:59 mark to put the game out of reach and seal the victory for the Isles.

“[Special teams] won us the game tonight,” Cizikas said after the win. “Special teams was huge, Nabby was huge in the net and that’s what you need to win games.”

Head coach Jack Capuano agreed that special teams was a big part of the afternoon win. “Usually when you get a shorthanded goal and you score a couple power play goals it leads to success,” he said.

Tavares did hit a career milestone in the win, but seemed genuinely surprised that he did.

“I didn’t know that,” he responded when asked about scoring 100 career goals. “I just want keep producing and keeping being consistent. Hopefully I don’t stop there. I want to keep it going. It’s been a good four years and to get to that point, I worked hard for it, and I just want to keep working.”

Capuano was aware of the milestone and was happy for his star player, but didn’t seem to dwell on it too much.

“It’s a great personal accomplishment,” he said. “But we win and lose as a team.”

The Islanders have a quick turnaround. They head to Pittsburgh tonight and will face the Penguins tomorrow.