Alex Ovechkin practically dared Islanders fans to be loud.
Ovechkin, who scored his first goal of the series on Friday, told reporters he’s not anticipating a more raucous crowd Sunday at the Coliseum than the Caps had at Verizon Center for Game Two.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be as loud as Verizon,” Ovechkin said about the Coliseum crowd. “But we’ll see.”
Oh, Alex. That was a very silly thing to say.
Nassau Coliseum will be rocking on Sunday, and it will pale in comparison to anything the Verizon Center has ever seen. The Old Barn may not be a lot of things, but it is one of the loudest buildings without question. I can’t wait for the place to erupt tomorrow, and I have a feeling there may be more than a few “Oooo-viiiiiii” chants.
By the way, there is a movement by fans on Twitter to get everyone attending the game to wear blue tomorrow. So if you’re going, rock your finest blue jersey!
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Dwelling on a Friday night’s loss wasn’t something the Islanders were doing when they hit the ice on Saturday for practice at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders skated as staff dressed the arena seats with orange rally towels and several Washington Capital players navigated themselves through the lower bowl as they headed to the visitors dressing room. Back on on Long Island preparing for Game 3 on Sunday, the Isles appeared to have moved on from a tough defeat in Washington on Friday.
“I think we know the situation and we’ve done a good job all year of moving forward,” John Tavares said. “That’s what we have to do, especially in a playoff series. We’re looking forward to being at home.”
New York returns back to the confines of the Coliseum with the series even at 1-1, though it appeared for half of Friday’s game that they would be up 2-0 when they got back to Long Island. The Islanders allowed a 3-1 lead slip away and saw the Capitals win 4-3.
It was a familiar tale for the Islanders, who have watched leads evaporate on several occasions during the regular season. In their season finale, the Isles let home-ice get away from them after they fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who came from behind to win in the shootout. To read more of this story, click here
Despite holding leads of 2-0 and 3-1, the Islanders faltered on Friday and the Capitals evened up the series at a game apiece.
After the game, Jack Capuano told reporters that some lineup changes may be forthcoming for when the Islanders hit the ice at the Nassau Coliseum.
“These are tough decisions you have to make as a staff,” Capuano said. “It comes down to personnel, and you don’t have a lot of time to make these decisions.” (Post, Apr 18)
Newsday’s Art Staple speculated that two candidates to be scratched were Anders Lee and Michael Grabner. (Staple, Apr 17)
I’ll assume Tyler Kennedy is the next man up, as the Islanders seemingly acquired him at the deadline for his playoff acumen. But I’m curious who else would crack the lineup. Is Mikhail Grabovski ready? He’s the only player that didn’t play in Game Two that I’d view as an upgrade over either of those guys. But if Lee or Grabner are going to sit for the likes of Colin McDonald, I think that’s a mistake.
Yes, the Islanders got outplayed for the majority of Game Two, but that doesn’t mean you have to go nuclear on the lineup. I’d view that as the equivalent of fixing a leaky pipe by tearing the whole house down. If Cappy wants to get Kennedy in the lineup, fine, but I can’t imagine a scenario that the Islanders would be better with a guy of Lee’s caliber up in the press box. Time will tell how this shakes out.
Recap: The Islanders squandered a two-goal lead in a 4-3 loss at Washington Friday as the Capitals tied the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at 1.
Need to know: The Caps trailed 3-2 entering the third period before Nicklas Backstrom tied it on the power play 3:44 into the period. Jason Chimera gave Washington the winner almost four minutes later. . .Backstrom also had two assists.
The Islanders led 3-1 after Kyle Okposo’s goal with 5:51 left in the second period, but Alex Ovechkin cut it to 3-2 three minutes later with his first goal of the series.
The Islanders were outshot 29-14 in the last two periods. Jaroslav Halak had 30 saves; backup Caps goalie Phillipp Grubauer had 18 saves. Grubauer was called up Friday because starter Braden Holtby was ill.
New York scored early in the first and second. Cal Clutterbuck got the first goal 5:14 into the first period and Ryan Strome scored 3:46 into the second. Karl Alzner scored the Caps’ first goal with 8:34 remaining in the period.
The Islanders have scored at least three goals in their last seven games. John Tavares, who assisted Strome for the second time in the series has four goals and 10 assists in those games.
The Islanders’ last 2-0 series lead was in 1983, when they swept Edmonton in the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: Game 3 is Sunday at noon in Uniondale.
The Islanders and Capitals duke it out tonight at the Verizon in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. The game will be carried locally on MSG Plus and on radio on WRHU 88.7 FM, and LI News Radio 103.9 FM. Nationally, the game can be viewed on NBCSN.
New York leads the series 1-0 after beating the Capitals 4-1 in Game 1 on Wednesday. Ryan Strome, Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson scored their first career playoff goals in the victory. Marcus Johansson was the lone Washington goal scorer on Wednesday.
Jaroslav Halak will be the Islanders starter once again and Philipp Grubauer will start in Braden Holtby’s place for the Capitals. Holtby did not take part in morning skate because he was not feeling well. Washington will have Tom Wilson back in their lineup for tonight’s game. The Islanders lineup is unclear, since head coach Jack Capuano did not make any announcements regarding his lineup for tonight.
Puck drops at 7 p.m. in Washington D.C.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Branden Holtby may have not been feeling well enough to take part in the Washington Capitals morning skate, but he is expected to face the Islanders tonight in Game 2 in the best-of-seven series.
There was some speculation that Holtby would not play when the Capitals called up Philipp Grubauer from AHL Hershey and Holtby did not take part in the team’s skate this morning. Capitals’ Coach Barry Trotz said that he does expect Holtby to start, despite not feeling well.
“He’s been under the weather since Game 1 and we just felt the best chance for us is to get him through warmup and go from there,” Trotz said to CSNWashington.com. “When you’re not feeling well there’s no sense hurting yourself any more.”
Holtby allowed three goals against the Islanders on Wednesday, including a soft one to Brock Nelson in the first period. He finished the game with a .885 save percentage and 23 saves.
Tha Capital goaltender, according Trotz, has not been feeling well since prior to Game 1. He would not say what what was ailing Holtby. Trotz is not worried that Holtby did not get in any time on the ice in the morning.
“He’s a battler,” Trotz said. “He did all of his movement today and we just felt a few extra shots in warmups will get him there.”
The Islanders will have Jaroslav Halak start in net for Game 2.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Just like in Game 1, we will have to wait and see what the Islanders lineup will be for Game 2.
Jaroslav Halak will start in net after a strong 24-save performance on Wednesday night. The Islander goaltender had a .960 save percentage in that game.
Outside of the starting goaltender the lineup is still a mystery, but with that being said it would be strange to see many changes from the lineup that appeared in Game 1. The Islanders played one of their most complete games of the season in the 4-1 victory.
Brian Strait and Calvin de Haan stepped up to make big contributions on the defensive end of the ice and the younger players on the team — Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and Anders Lee — didn’t appear to be fazed at all by the playoff stage. So, it would be hard to justify changing much up from the first game.
Travis Hamonic is unlikely to play in this game. There was no update on the defenseman’s status after Thursday’s practice in Annapolis, Maryland.
Considering that the Islanders had so much success in Game 1, the lineup will likely look the same when they hit ice tonight at the Verizon Center.