|GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||4.21 / .852|
|New York Islanders||Semyon Varlamov||2.00 / .923|
The Capitals are back in action for Game 2 in hopes of re-establishing themselves as a dominant force against former head coach Barry Trotz and his Isles. After losing Nicklas Backstrom after the first period, and allowing a short-handed goal, all momentum was lost and eventually, the Capitals dug themselves a hole too deep to escape, and now it’s time to regroup.
On Wednesday, after playing a dominant first period and securing a 2-0 lead, the Washington Capitals all but faded away into the distance as the New York Islanders came back to score four unanswered goals to defeat the Caps 4-2 in Game 1. You can check-out my official TXHT postgame report here, if you want to re-live the loss. After missing all three round-robin matches, John Carlson returned to the lineup versus the Islanders, but whether that return bolstered the blue line is still TBD. A total of 40 penalty minutes were doled out over three periods, including five-minute majors for fighting to Tom Wilson and Anders Lee, and a variety of roughing penalties. Washington received seven power play opportunities and shockingly, converted on two of them. Unfortunately, those two power-play goals were the only goals scored by Washington, as they were unable to score at even-strength. Conversely, although the Capitals killed off all four penalties against them, the Islanders scored three of four goals at even strength, and one shorthanded. The first period was goal-less, despite the bad blood and physical play. TJ Oshie scored both power-play goals for Washington, both of which were greasy, gritty goals. At the 5:27 mark and the 11:18 mark of the middle period, Oshie tallied his 2nd and 3rd goals of the post-season.
With 63 seconds remaining in the 2nd period, Jordan Eberle halved the Caps lead with his 3rd goal of the post-season. Just 51 seconds into the third period, Anders Lee tied it 2-2, and almost six minutes later, Josh Bailey scored shorthanded, giving the Islanders their first lead of the afternoon, 3-2. With 8:05 remaining, Anthony Beauvillier sealed the win for the Isles as he made it 4-2. Despite pulling Holtby for the extra skater, the Capitals played with very little urgency for the majority of the third, and it showed.
The Capitals severely lost the face-off battle, winning just 35.7% of all faceoffs taken, and were narrowly outshot 27-26. Soft goals allowed by Braden Holtby killed any momentum the Capitals had faster than any bad penalty ever could. Holtby allowed four goals on 27 shots, thus ‘earning’ him a .853 save percentage and a 4.21 GAA. Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 of 26 shots, and ended his night with a .923 save percentage.
When asked about Nicklas Backstrom’s injury, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin felt as though the injury wasn’t serious and expected Backstrom to return to the lineup soon. Per the Athletic’s Tarik el-Bashir, Backstrom will not dress for Game 2, but Lars Eller is expected to return to the lineup.
Below is the remaining schedule vs. NYI:
Game 2: Fri. at 8pm
Game 3: Sun. Aug. 16 at 12pm
Game 4: Tues. Aug. 18 at 8pm
Game 5: Thurs. Aug. 20 TBD
Game 6: Sat. Aug. 22 TBD
Game 7: Sun. Aug. 23 TBD
TheScore. (2020). New York Islanders @ Washington Capitals. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/23196.