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Capitals vs. Islanders Recap: After Plenty of Fireworks, Washington Fizzles Against New York, Losing 4-3

The Washington Capitals were the winningest team of the decade, but the New York Islanders bested the Caps 4-3 in the final game of 2019.

NHL: New York Islanders at Washington Capitals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

December 31 is a day of a celebration. The Washington Capitals faced off against the New York Islanders Tuesday afternoon, giving you plenty of time to get festive after the game. While the match at Capital One Arena had plenty of New Year’s fireworks, the Capitals played a messy game, losing, 4-3, to the Islanders.

Here’s the decade’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Winning the Stanley Cup.

Minus: Nothing else matters.

Some notes on the game:

  1. In a throwback to the start of the decade, Semyon Varlamov was in net in Chinatown. Facing some robust scoring opportunities, the Isles goalie held strong, only bested a trio of quality Washington snipes and hacks at the Samara, Russia born former Caps netminder.
  2. Braden Holtby, who followed Varlamov, in due time, as Washington #1 puck stopper, produced another mediocre showing. Washington’s All-Star stopper faced some tips, screens and defensive lapses in front of him, but for the third game in a row, Bray Bray allowed four or more goals.
  3. The Capitals have still have not beaten Barry Trotz’s Islanders at home, which is some nice trivia to fill a bullet point.
  4. Nic Dowd was scratched from the game late when his wife went into labor. Our best wishes to them!
  5. Tom Wilson, returning from injury, had an interesting game. The dashing forward helped gift the Islanders their first tally by turning the puck over on a lazy clear/breakout attempt. He made up for in with a nice goal-scoring whack in the crease a few minutes later.
  6. Evgeny Kuznetsov has been struggling lately but has turned in around in the last couple of days, with three goals in his last two games, including two today. After the Caps went down 2-0 early, Kuznetsov got one back 14 seconds later with a beautiful wrap-around goal, which he finished off with the bird before firing snipe to tie the game at the time.
  7. The Capitals were sloppy all night, but woke up in the third, throwing 17 shots on net. Varlamov just had the better of them. But the Caps sealed their fate earlier with bad turnovers and puck management. If Casey Cizikas has two goals against you, well, that’s not good.

If you’re out tonight, be smarter than the players in the hockey game we just watched.

This is like Clarendon at 2 am but as a hockey game.

— Chris Gordon (@ByChrisGordon) December 31, 2019

Overall, the Capitals had an excellent start to the season to finish off a sublime decade for the franchise. Washington has a real chance to re-up on glory in 2020.

“If you guys don’t mention it, I will probably not think about it,” Kuznetsov told NBC Sports Washington of the Capitals’ success in the 2010s before the game. “It’s all about future.”

Let’s hope more joy is coming, whether at the rink or in your own lives. Happy New Year.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports