Photo: Isles fans pack Coliseum

Islanders fans at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Islanders fans cheer during the third period of game four of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)


Broken sticks and missed power play chances hurt Isles in Game 4 loss

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

If there is one thing that the Islanders have had a lot of this season, it has been broken sticks at the most inconvenient times.

In Game 4, John Tavares found himself stick-less as Washington Capitals’ forward Nicklas Backstrom scored in NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Islandersovertime to tie the best-of-seven game series at two. Tavares snapped his stick during a face-off in the Islanders zone and Backstrom — cognizant that Tavares didn’t have a stick — shot and scored.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest with you. It’s the third goal now with a broken stick,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We’re all in good position, everybody has good position… [Backstrom] is a smart player and he recognized that Johnny didn’t have his stick. When he did he got a puck to the net and it hit off a player, and it goes in the back of the net.

“They had two goals like that tonight.”

Most of Tuesday night was spent with the Islanders and Capitals tied. Washington took their first lead of the series at 13:06 in the first period, but a a goal in the closing seconds of the first by Casey Cizikas even the game up at one. It wasn’t until Backstrom’s overtime winner that the score changed. To read more of this story, click here

Okposo, Islanders upset over Tom Wilson’s hit on Visnovsky

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Kyle Okposo didn’t mince his words when talking about the hit that Washington Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson laid on Lubomir Visnovsky in the second period of Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime loss.

The questionable hit occurred 5:54 into the second period as the Islanders’ NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Islandersdefenseman was trying to play the puck behind his own net. Visnovsky did not have full control of the puck and Wilson caught him in the face with his shoulder as he came flying in for the hit. Wilson was given a two-minute charging penalty and Visnovsky left the game and did not return.

“He’s an idiot,” Okposo said, referring to Wilson. “The guy runs around and he just hits reckless. He leaves his feet and there’s no place for that.”

The hit on Visnovsky came 22 seconds after Wilson had just left the penalty box for kneeing Josh Bailey minutes earlier.

Head coach Jack Capuano did not have any update on VIsnovsky’s healthy, but he did commend his defenseman for sticking with it when they went down a man.

“I thought our guys gave it everything they got back there,” he said.”But you’re not going to play a sixty plus minute game. It gets real grueling on our defense. They played a lot of minutes and we had a lot of guys get play power play time too. I give them credit, but it’s tough when you go down to five [defensemen] and I thought they did a pretty good job for us.” To read more of this story, click here

Game 4 Recap: Capitals 2 — Islanders 1 (OT)

Recap: Washington won it in overtime Tuesday as the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series goes back to D.C. tied at 2.

Need to know:The Caps’ Nicklas Backstrom scored 11:09 into overtime after John Tavares lost his stick.

Both regulation goals came in the first period. Alex Ovechkin, who had an assist on Backstrom’s winner, scored with 6:55 go and Casey Cizikas tied it with 13 seconds left off a Cal Clutterbuck rebound.

The Islanders were 0-for-4 on the power play, including 0-for-3 in the second period. . .New York outshot Washington 28-16 through two periods, but the Caps had a 7-6 advantage in the third.

Clutterbuck hit the post on a 2-on-1 shorthanded chance in the third period. . .Brian Strait blocked two shots in close in the OT.

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next: Game 5 is Thursday at 7 p.m in Washington.

Tonight’s Game: Capitals vs Islanders, 7:30 p.m.

The Islanders host the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The game will be televised on MSG Plus. The radio broadcast can be heard on WRHU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM.

The Islanders will have Jaroslav Halak in net to start the fourth game of the series. The Isles will use the same line combinations and defensive pairs as they did in Game 3. 

Braden Holtby will start in net for the Capitals and Curtis Glencross will be a healthy scratch. Andre Burakovsky will take Glencross’ spot. 

The Islanders lead the series 2-1 and could take a 3-1 lead with a win tonight. 

Three Keys to success for Isles in Game 4

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders are back in action for Game 4 of their series with the Washington Capitals. They had a strong effort in the first two periods of Game 3, before the Capitals pushed back and tied the the game. The Islanders eventually won off a heroic effort by John Tavares and hold a 2-1 series lUSATSI_8529408_110579513_lowresead.

Now with Game 4 on deck, the Islanders will look to move ahead to a commanding 3-1 lead over the Capitals in the series. Here are three keys for the Isles to win tonight’s game:

Feed off Fans Energy

Nassau Coliseum was bananas on Sunday during the Islanders 2-1 overtime win. The fans were loud and made their presence know the entire afternoon. The players, in turn, answered by putting up a spirited performance for the fans. The Islanders will need to feed off of that energy once again and keep the crowd in the game the entire night. The energy clearly had an impact on the team and it makes the Nassau Coliseum one of the toughest environments to play in.

Contain the Capitals’ Power Play

This one may be a left over from Game 1, but Keeping the Caps off the power play and containing them when they have the man-advantage will be key. The Islanders’ penalty kill has performed well in the series and has managed to contain one of the best offensive players in the game, Alexander Ovechkin. Johnny Boychuk’s second and third efforts in Game 3 to keep Ovechkin from getting a shot off in the closing seconds of the second period  may be one of the iconic moments of the series. It also exemplifies the effort and mentality the Islanders will need to maintain to keep the Caps off the board.

Control the Pace of the Game

The Islanders did this very well in the first and third game, and even parts of the second. However, the Islanders need that effort for a full sixty minutes. The Islanders need to keep the Capitals back on their heels and keep the play in the offensive zone. Their will absolutely be a push from the Capitals, like there has been in every single game this series, but the Isles need to weather the storm. Brian Strait said that the Islanders have learned from the last few games, tonight they need to prove that.