Recap: Caps 2, Islanders 1

UNIONDALE NY - JANUARY 20: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against Zenon Konopka #28 of the New York Islanders on January 20 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale New York. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)

[GameCenter - Game Summary - Event Summary - Faceoff Summary - Corsi/Fenwick - Shift Charts - Head-to-Head - Zone Starts]

In a perfect world - or even just one where what happens on the ice correlates directly to what the game looks like on paper - the Capitals would have come in and dominated the Islanders, their own injuries, inconsistencies, and other issues notwithstanding.  Of course, it didn't play out that way and although the Capitals came away with two points, we're still left wondering where the explosive offense and dominant team of the last couple seasons is...and when we'll see them again.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • An Islander defenseman breaks his stick on a shot from the point and lets the Caps get the puck out of the New York zone, his partner losing his footing and falls down on the backcheck, Rick DiPietro's forced to come and play the puck, shanking it to the most dangerous goal scorer of the past five years...and the end result is a penalty against the Capitals?  Has any sequences summed up this season better than that one?
  • So Kyle Okposo picked tonight's game against the Capitals to be his first one back from injury.  As a Caps fan, I find that rather unfortunate.  As a hockey fan, I'm thrilled.  And, if I were an Islanders fan, that 1:03 average shift length would be making me raise an eyebrow.
  • Nice to see the Caps finish the game with 17 takeaways and eight giveaways.  Sure, some of it has to do with the skill level of the Islanders and the stats are very subjective, but if you're even close to 2:1, you're in great shape.
  • Great job by Braden Holtby allowing just one goal in his first game back against NHL shooters (insert Islanders joke here).  It's awfully hard to fault him too much for New York's lone goal - it was a great shot by Grabner, and John Carlson let Grabner get the shot - and he came up big on several stops in the third.
  • Jason Chimera's not a great option if you're looking for a guy to fill a spot on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and, realistically, he's not a great option for any NHL team's first line.  That said, you could do worse than a guy with that kind of speed who plays with that kind of effort, and it's nice the Capitals have someone they can turn to when they feel like they're in dire straits.
  • At the risk of beating a dead horse and asking a rhetorical question, is there any reason for Mike Green to play more than ten minutes in the first period of a January game against the New York Islanders?
  • Winning games in the NHL is hard and it doesn't get any easier when you have guys taking penalties after the whistle (like Nicklas Backstrom) or behind the other team's net (like Mathieu Perreault) when you're trying to protect a one-goal lead in the third period.
  • On a more positive note, Perreault continued his sold work in the Corsi department, finishing as a plus-five, a number better by only Karl Alzner and Brooks Laich.
  • On the other side were Jeff Schultz and Mike Green, who finished at -11 and -8, uh, respectively. The numbers look especially bad when you consider that only one other Capital (Nicklas Backstrom) had a negative rating, though the pair did finish with nine blocked shots.
  • D.J. King played 3:25.  Jay Beagle, Mathieu Perreault, and Matt Hendricks played 12:40, 9:44, and 13:45.  Yep.

Another game, and another uneven effort from the team as a whole, as the team looks to be in throes of a Winter Classic hangover.  Here's hoping the team can snap out of it soon, because they're not so good they can get where they want to be if they let a large part of the season pass them by.

Game highlights:

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