|Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||1-3-1||4.07 / .871|
|New York Islanders||Semyon Varlamov||5-1-0||2.00 / .920|
The Washington Capitals are on the brink of elimination, and being swept by the New York Islanders in Round 1. They’ve dropped their first two games, with Friday’s Game 2 loss being arguably worse than Game 1. No one is scoring, except for TJ Oshie and Alex Ovechkin, and adequate coaching is no where to be found.
On Friday, Washington fell by a score of 5-2 after allowing a tie-breaking goal by Brock Nelson just 15 second after a game-tying goal by the Capitals. The full TXHT Caps reCAP can be found here. Washington played without Nicklas Backstrom, and as a result, Lars Eller moved up to the 2C position. The Capitals took an early 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the first, thanks to captain Alex Ovechkin grinding hard in front of Semyon Varlamov to pot his first of the post-season.
It was after Ovechkin’s first goal that the Capitals simply stopped playing. The Islanders have a style of play that is suffocating and if you let it, will choke and asphyxiate you into elimination. Nick Leddy, at the 2:56 mark of the second, scored on the Isles power play to tie the game 1-1 (Dowd, high-sticking). Not even three minutes later, Matt Martin made it 2-1 Isles with his 2nd of the post-season. With what appeared to be a possibly game-salvaging goal, Alex Ovechkin tied it all up 2-2 with his 2nd of the game at the 6:39 mark.
But seconds later, a lazy effort by Jakub Vrana led to a breakaway by Brock Nelson, and ended with the puck behind Holtby to re-instate the Isles lead. As expected, Jakub Vrana was replaced by Richard Panik on the 2nd line with Eller and Oshie after his turnover led to Nelson’s breakaway. Vrana did eventually return to the 2nd line to start the third period. The Islanders were gifted five power play opportunities, and it wasn’t until the third period that the Capitals received their first man-advantage. Washington was assessed two… yes TWO… too-many-men bench minors, and a variety of other infractions that referees Eric Furlatt and Trevor Hanson were far too enthusiastic about calling. Washington’s penalty kill was 100% leading up to Leddy’s goal, but even with the PPG, the Caps still lead with the best PK of the remaining teams. Washington was unable to convert on either of their two power-plays and went 0-for-2 on the night, while the Islanders went 1-for-5. The game didn’t seem out of reach for the Capitals until Cal Clutterbuck scored the insurance goal, making it 4-2 New York with less than three minutes remaining. As expected, Reirden elected to pull Holtby for the extra-skater, but Anders Lee scored an empty-net goal making it 5-2. Washington was incapable of making a comeback like they had so many times before during the regular season. With the loss, the Capitals fell zero games to two. Many will refer to the 2018 Cup run when Washington fell 0-2 to Columbus and then rallied back to win the cup, but this is not the same team.
Below is the remaining schedule vs. NYI:
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 | August 14, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/23207