The Islanders may have lost, but they certainly acquitted themselves well as their injury riddled roster made the Washington Capitals labor the entire game before falling 2-1 on a power-play goal in the final minutes of regulation.
While the Islanders’ top players continue to sit on the shelf (including John Tavares, Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Rob Schremp) and were joined by the suspended James Wisniewski, the Caps got goals from their two stars, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, to provide the winning margin. That was despite being largely outworked by the Islanders for the vast majority of the game.
The loss perfectly illustrates why a lot of pundits are sour on the Islanders’ chances to make the playoffs given their long list of injured key players. The Caps and the NHL’s other top teams are so talent rich that they can still win games even when they’re having an off night. The Islanders, on the other hand, have to put in 110-percent effort every night and even then it may not be enough for a W.
The Islanders don’t have anything to be ashamed of last night however, and if they can maintain this effort level when Tavares and his top-tier teammates return, the Isles will almost certainly outpace expectations.
+ El Nino
Nino Niederreiter tallied his first NHL goal off a sweet set up from Doug Weight in the first period. Niederreiter slipped relatively unmarked just to the right of the Caps’ crease and slapped Weight’s pass between the pads of goalie Michal Neuvirth (who probably was the only thing separating the Isles from a W last night). He finished plus-1 with two shots on goal.
He brought his “A” game to D.C. for his first start of the year. When you hold the Caps to two goals, you’re doing just fine. Yeah, he got caught flat-footed on Ovechkin’s goal, but Ovi’s made a lot of goalies look pretty silly. Roloson played well enough to get a win Wednesday.
- Converting Chances
Seriously there’s not a lot to pick on from last night, but the deciding factor was probably the Isles’ inability to convert a few pretty good scoring chances. Matt Moulson couldn’t beat Neuvirth on a breakaway in the third period and even in the first the Isles had a number of excellent point-blank shots but only deposited one past the Caps’ goalie.