Recap: The Islanders fell in a 3-2 shootout decision on the road against the Washington Capitals Saturday.
Need to Know: Chad Johnson made 25 saves on the night for the Islanders, but Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov got the Capitals the W, netting a goal in the first round of the shootout.
While Johnson was strong between the pipes, the Isles offense provided solid goal support. Travis Hamonic put New York up 1-0 in the first while Ryan Strome forced overtime with less than a minute left in regulation and Johnson on the bench.
A scoreless overtime kept the game knotted at 2-2 and forced a shootout. The Islanders generated good looks in regulation, notching 32 shots, but were unable to put one past Braden Holtby in the crease during the shootout.
Links: AP Recap | Box Score
What’s Next: The Isles will be back at home on Sunday at Nassau Coliseum as they welcome the Vancouver Canucks at 6 p.m.
The Islanders are in the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Capitals at 12:30 p.m. at the Verizon Center. MSG Plus will have the the television broadcast, while WHRU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM will be the radio home for today’s game.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
The Islanders (39-19-1) will head to Washington D.C. in hopes of locking up their third straight win.
To do so they will have to beat the Washington Capitals (32-17-10), who look to gain ground in the Metropolitan Division standings. Today will be the final time the Isles and Caps will see one another during the 2014-15 regular season and the Islanders have won two of the three meetings they have had against Washington.
The Caps have found success at home recently, earning 13 points in their last 15 games at Verizon Center. They have also had a knock for beating Eastern Conference opponents. The Capitals are 21-8-7 against the East this year.
Washington’s power play has also been very dangerous this season. They have the second ranked power play unit in the league, with a 24.4 power play percentage.
“Obviously they were 3-for-6 last night and that’s the strength of their hockey team,” Isles’ head coach Jack Capuano said about the Caps’ power play. “We’re gonna be discipline in all areas. We have to go in there and they’re big, physical team. This is a great test for us.”
The Islanders will start Chad Johnson and Brandon Holtby will be in net for Washington. Hotlby is 6-1-2 in nine games against the Islanders, with a 2.26 goals against average and a .932 save percentage.
New York saw an influx of goals on Thursday from the team’s defenseman against the Nashville Predators. Brian Strait, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy all found the back of the net against the NHL’s best team.
The power play for the Islanders has also scored in back-to-back games and the penalty kill has managed to kill off 13 straight penalties over the last five games.
The Islanders have placed Mikhail Grabovski on injured reserve with an expected concussion (Stable, Feb. 21).
Grabovski suffered the injury during Thursday night’s win against the Predators. “I’m sure he’s going to be out a while,” Head coach Jack Capuano said of Grabovski.
Kael Mouillierat has been recalled to fill in during his absence.
Mouillierat, 27, leads all Sound Tigers in goals (18) and points (40) through 51 games this season. He will make his NHL debut in Washington D.C. today against the Capitals.
Kael Mouillierat seemed calm and collected as he sat at his stall in the Islanders dressing room on Friday.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Mouillierat will make his NHL debut on Saturday when the Islanders take on the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano confirmed that Mouillierat will play following the team’s practice on Friday at Nassau Coliseum.
“Obviosuly were down at Casey and then with Grabovski hurt,” Capuano explained. “[Mouillierat has] been playing well down there and he’s excited. He’s going to get his opportunity in Washington.”
The 27-year-old has been having a banner year in AHL Bridgeport. He leads the Sound Tigers in goals with 18 through 51 games. In addition, he holds the the team lead in points with 40 on the year.
Mouillierat had a pretty simple explanation as to what earned him the call-up on Friday. To read more of this story, click here
Nick Leddy just keeps producing.
Leddy had a goal and two assists on Thursday against Nashville, en route to his first three point game as an Islander and his first since March 16, 2013.
This season, Leddy has eight goals, 17 assists and is a +17 in 59 games. According to NHL.com, Leddy is third in the league in Corsi and first in Fenwick. WAR-on-Ice has his Corsi For Percentage at 57.0, good for seventh-best in the NHL among defensemen who have played 10 games or more.
I think you can make the argument that Leddy has been one of the most important players on the team, no less the blue line. The 23 year old has not only been steady for the Islanders, but his advanced stats jump off the page to show Leddy is doing exactly what the Isles need him to do: limiting opposing chances and moving the puck forward into the offensive zone.
Additionally, Leddy has this great ability of knowing when the join the rush and when to hang back. The goal he scored against the Predators was the perfect example of this, as he jumped up, received a perfect pass from Colin McDonald, and buried it back Pekka Rinne. He showed similar instincts when he moved the puck down low, leading to Johnny Boychuk’s first period goal, and when he clanked one off the post after a sweet give-and-go with John Tavares in the second.
Of the two October acquisitions, Boychuk seems to get more of the credit for being the key stalwart on the Islanders, and I get that. He’s a vocal leader with a cannon from the point, so he just naturally stands out to fans and the media alike, and deservedly so. But Leddy has been just an integral, and that was on full display on Thursday. Time to show him the money, Garth!
Anders Lee was assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after training camp this season, but he used that time in the AHL to be prepared for when he was called back up (Yahoo Sports, Feb. 19).
“You work hard all summer and try not to make that happen,” Lee said Thursday. “[W]hen it did you just go down there motivated. You got to work a little bit harder and fine-tune your game a little bit. So I just went down there, put my head down and worked. You can’t really control those kind of things. You just got to go out there and try to fix it.”
Sure enough, the Islanders center was called back to the big club after just two weeks in Bridgeport as he scored three times and recorded five points in five games. Four months later and Lee is still making his mark with the Isles, filling in on the top line alongside John Tavares for the injured Kyle Okposo.
“I think it’s no secret why he’s had success all year,” Tavares said. “It’s just his presence in front of the net. The good job he does getting to the net, being such a big body, strong on his skates, and he gets very good body position. It’s not always easy to go there, and when you do go there you’ve got to be good at it.”
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano did not sound all that optimistic after the game about forward Mikhail Grabovski.
Grabovski took a big hit from Eric Nystrom at 8:39 of the first period of Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. The Islander forward laid on the ice for a few minutes after the hit and a stretcher was even brought out onto the ice after a few minutes. He did eventually sit up and skate off under his own power.
The Islanders later announced he would miss the remainder of the game with an upper-body injury.
After the game Capuano did not have an update on Grabovski, but did say “I’m sure he’s going to be out a while though.”
By all accounts the hit appeared to be a clean hit by Nystrom and no penalty was assessed on the play. Capuano said that he did not see the play and that it was explained to him by the officials as a hit in the middle of Grabovski’s body.
After the game, Nystrom characterized the hit as a hockey check.
“He had his head down and sometimes it’s a cause of positioning,” Nystrom explained. “He picked up the puck and turned, and I was just standing right there. That’s how those plays happen sometimes. I obviously don’t like seeing anybody get hurt, but it’s just a body check.”
Grabovski has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) for the Islanders in 51 games. He missed about a week earlier in the season due to a concussion.
The Islanders will practice on Friday before leaving for Washington D.C. and an update on Grabovski could be available then.