WASHINGTON, November 5, 2013 — The Capitals played their first complete game last night and routed the Islanders, 6-2.
“This was the Capitals best start to a game so far this season” according to head coach Adam Oates.
Adam Oates felt that the Capitals came out strong because they knew the Islanders are a very good team. Things looked daunting five minutes into the first period. New York Islanders’ star John Tavares netted his seventh goal of the season to make the score 1-0. Tavares’ first period goal was scored at even strength.
The Caps, however, outhit the Isles, 7-6, in the first period. Braden Holtby seemed to get going after a late power play kill to end the first period. This penalty kill must have gotten the rest of the Capitals going because the second period would be their best stretch of hockey since last year.
New York had trouble getting the puck out of their own zone due, in part, to Adam Oates’ fore-checking gameplan led by Martin Erat. This strategy gave the young Islanders fits all night. New York may have been emotionally flat following their big win on Saturday night against the Boston Bruins, but it was obvious the Capitals’ pressure affected New York, keeping the puck out of the Capitals’ zone for most of the night.
John Carleson started off the second period maylay with an unassisted goal three minutes into the period. Then immediately after Carleson’s goal, the Caps were given their second power play of the game. It only took six seconds for Alex Ovechkin to score his 11th goal of the season in that man advantage and the assist came from Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom would end up with three assists on the night.
The action did not stop there. New York responded immediately with their second goal on the night at four minutes into the Second period making the score 2-2. Following this goal, the Islanders were penalized for tripping on Isles defender Matt Carkner. During the man advantage, No. 90 Marcus Johansson rebounded in his first goal of the season, assisted by Troy Brower and Nicklas Backstrom to make the score 3-2 Capitals.
The flurry continued when a couple of minutes later at eight minutes into the second period, a sloppy turnover in the Islanders’ zone led to an array of Capitals shots on goal. No. 34 Alexander Urbom found a squirted puck near the blue line and slammed his slap shot over the right shoulder of Islanders’ goalie Evgeni Nabovkov. This was Urbom’s first career NHL goal and point. It was a hard slap shot from the left side of the Capitals’ zone where Alex Ovechkin has famously made a living. It is also a nice way to start Urbom’s NHL goal scoring career.
This gave the Capitals a 4-2 lead. Just when the Isles thought they would finally get out of the second period, the Capitals received their fourth power play on an interference penalty by Thomas Vanek. Alex Ovechkin hammered home another goal, his 12th goal of the season, and second goal of the game. Alex Ovechkin scored his second goal of the night with less than three minutes left in the period.
The Capitals have historically fought and clawed against the Islanders. This usually isn not an easy game. The secret weapon may be Capitals defender, Steve Olesky, who battled the Islanders all evening. When asked why things were so heated, Olesky replied “I came up in [the New York Islanders] organization and I know these guys and what they were trying to do.” Olesky mentioned that one of the Islanders wanted to fight him, but this time, he and the rest of the Capitals showed restraint, unlike Friday night’s fight fest in Philadelphia.
Just after Capitals rookie Tom Wilson’s first NHL goal made the score 6-2 to end the game, the Islanders wanted to fight the young rookie out of frustration. Like Olesky, Wilson let it go. Head Coach Adam Oates commended Tom Wilson for avoiding a fight at the end of the game.
Oates said it was not the right time for that. After what happened on Friday, he was certainly right. Overall, the Capitals played their best game of the season while moving up to the second place spot in the Metropolitan Divison. The Capitals have another tough challenge this Thursday at the Verizon Center as the Minnesota Wild travel to Washington.
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