Movember ‘stache or not, Alex Ovechkin looked like himself on Tuesday … which was bad news for the New York Islanders.
The Capitals absolutely dominated in the second period of Tuesday’s game, turning a 1-0 Islanders lead into a 5-1 Caps margin thanks in part to Washington’s ferocious power play. The Caps collected three goals on the man advantage in that span – two of which came from Ovechkin – and then Tom Wilson capped it all with a 6-1 PP goal in the third period.
It was obviously a tough night for the Islanders, and John Tavares wasn’t happy after factoring into both Isles goals (one goal, one assist). He vented to New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple after the game.
“It should be embarrassing,” Tavares said. “Just don’t know why we can’t stick with it. You give 8 and 19 those easy plays, it’ll be a long night.”
(Nicklas Backstrom – aka “19” to Ovechkin’s “8” – had three assists of his own.)
The Islanders remain at . 500 (6-6-3), essentially in the same place they were before the Thomas Vanek trade. The Capitals aren’t that far ahead with an 8-7-0 record, although they’re on a three-game winning streak and have scored 16 goals (OK, 15 if you discount the shootout) in the last three contests.
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Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”
If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.
Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.
“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.
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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.