Photo: Rob Carr
After a jittery start with very few chances for either team, Travis Hamonic caught John Carlson overcommitting high in the defensive zone and got it past Holtby, top corner. A few minutes later, he got a note of thanks from Wilson and Chimera, sandwiching the goal scorer behind his own net. Heh. For the remainder of the first, the Islanders looked much the part of Metro division leaders, staying aggressive on the backcheck and making it hard for the Capitals to hang around in front of backup goaltender Chad Johnson.
As the period was winding down, The Isles were called for too many men on the ice, giving the Caps some time on the power play until Evgeny Kuznetsov’s stick caught Hickey in the beak. You could see him trying to bleed, but his face would not comply. The PK unit looked well organized against a clearly dangerous team. With under a minute left in the frame, perennial non-All Star Nick Backstrom’s perfectly placed pass to Matt Niskanen put the Good Guys on the board. I like that Backstrom kid. Mark my words, he’s going places in this league.
The Capitals’ top line sucked up zone time aggressively during the second, with numerous beautiful passing sequences that really should have resulted in biscuit-basketness. Johnson stood tall for the Islanders. Not much else to say. It was a thing that happened, and there was some hockey.
The third period got off to a slightly scary start, as John Tavares was put into the boards by Tom Wilson and was slow to get up. Don’t feel too bad, Caps fans: he nearly authored an assist a few moments later, with a gymnastic Holtby denying the close-range shot. About five minutes in, Matt Martin took Wilson to task, ostensibly for the hit on the Isles’ captain, in a battle of the heavyweight prime numbers. No pretty faces were harmed in the scrum.
Both goalies were peppered by shot attempts in the waning minutes of the period, and each played solid, unglamorous, technically proficient games. That said, few goalies can be asked to withstand a 3 on 2 with Eric Fehr at the tip of the spear. Streaking down the ice, F-16 made it 2-1 with a helper from Brooks Laich. The Islanders’ intensity immediately spiked, and after a near goal was saved by a sprawling Holtby, they came knocking again. Tavares to Lee to Strome, tying the game once more. The clock ticked down.
4 on 4 play was feverish, but because it was that kind of a game, it was on to…
It went like this:
Nielsen: NO SCOAR FOR YOU
Tavares: NO SCOAR FOR YOU EITHER
Strome: NO SCOAR FOR YOU IS PARTY TIME!
This game had the smack of playoff hockey, and the Washington Capitals looked like they belonged right alongside the Islanders. Don’t know about you, but I want Philly. Bad.
Joe B suit of the afternoon. Looking good, sounding even better. We missed you!
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