Photo: Kathy Kmonicek
At first, the Caps weren’t prepared to compete against the New York Islanders. Head coach Barry Trotz left two good players without sweaters. Instead, he put weak link Jason Chimera on the top line. The Isles outcompeted the Caps in the first period with their superior compete level, which was levels above the compete level of the Caps, but then the Caps leveled up their compete level in the third to tie the game in dramatic fashion and force overtime.
Anders Lee scored for the Islanders in the first period off a ridiculous deflection. New York made it 2-0 in the second period when Lubomir Visnovsky banked a shot off Brooks Orpik and behind Holtby. In the third, Calvin DeHaan scored shorthanded after Evgeny Kuznetsov choked the puck up in front of the Caps net.
Very marginal player Eric Fehr crashed the net to beat Jaroslav Halak and set himself decidedly on fire. On the rush, Ovechkin set up Backstrom for a gorgeous goal. Ovi got one of his own with a lightning bolt of a goal off a late-game face-off. The Caps withstood a late-game double-minor penalty by Kuznetsov long enough to earn a point and force overtime, but Johnny Boychuk won it during 4v3.
Isles beat Caps 4-3 (Overtime).
Joe B suit of the night
At the dawn of the third period, I had thought this one was securely in the hands of the Islanders. It’s good to know that, in response, the Caps’ best competitors could compete at a high level.
Those champions of compete level, just for your reference: Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, and Eric Fehr.
Or, put another way:
Ovechkin — Backstrom — Fehr
For now, we need to shake this off. What matters is that the Caps got a standings point and stood tall after a miserable first forty. We now need to turn our concerns to Brooks Orpik’s health. Meanwhile, Trotz’s experiments with weird lines and weird lineup choices should come to an end presently. On Thursday the Caps will play the best team in the league and my pick to win the Stanley Cup, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Gonna need a whole lot more compete level out of ’em.
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