Trouble was in the air early on for the Capitals against their former bench boss Barry Trotz’s New York Islanders after allowing a questionable goal from Tom Kuhnhackl in the opening minutes of the game. Though the Capitals gained their footing as play progressed, Trotz’s brand of soul-sucking trapping hockey seemed to spell doom for Washington.
However, two goals in 68 seconds to open the third period powered the Capitals comeback against the Metropolitan Division leading New York Islanders. The good guys leave Long Island with two hard earned points and are tied with the Islanders in points, though the latter still has a game in hand.
Here’s Friday night’s plus/minus:
Plus: With his third period goal, Alex Ovechkin reached the 45-goal plateau for the 10th time in his career. This is more than any other player in NHL history.
Minus: The Capitals allowed a goal within the first four minutes of play for the fourth game straight. Whether or not you think the goal should’ve counted (it should not have), it’s a bad look to giving up chances like that.
Now here’s 10 more notes on tonight’s game:
- Just 2:43 into the game an ugly turnover by Dmitry Orlov leads to an unassisted goal by Tom Kuhnhackl that is pretty clearly offside. However, because the NHL’s rules were decided by a magic 8 ball, the play was “unchallengeable” because the linesman did not call a delayed offside ahead of the play. I’m not going to lie, I don’t understand or like this rule. Are you saying if I were to “steal” from the Whole Foods hot bar but no one challenges me on my way out, it’s no longer stealing once I get outside?
- The Caps then proceed to take the first penalty of the night a little over a minute later and my will to live declines just a little bit.
- Andre Burakovsky finds a new best friend after a shot by Mat Barzal whizzes off the crossbar. Better go out and buy a lottery ticket, because that’s not a shot that Barzal misses twice.
- Despite the early blunders, the Caps got out of the first outshooting the Islanders 12-8. Still, the Isles walk away up one and with more scoring chances, which is less than ideal.
- Oh, another minor by the Caps you say? This time it’s Connolly for tripping on Barzal early in the second period. It’s high time someone considers making a drinking game based on the Caps’ go-to blunders. Early goal? Check. First to take penalty? Check. [Disclaimer: please do not make this game, and in particular, do not ask me to partake in it. I already lived through undergrad.]
- As the second period ticks down, Todd Reirden does some line shuffling in hopes of sparking something. Burkie gets dropped to the fourth line and Carl Hagelin is skating with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly.
- Listen, I know the Islanders’ arena situation has been a point of contention in recent years but now it is quite literally falling apart after a hit by Matt Niskanen breaks a piece off the penalty box door. Not exactly what I had in mind when I wanted the Caps to bring the house down.
- [Read in John Mulaney’s and Nick Kroll’s voices] OH, HELLO. Jakub Vrana ties up the game with his 19th goal of the season down low. Caps get their first power play of the night soon after and Alex Ovechkin puts the the good guys up 2-1 less than five minutes into the third.
- The Capitals have an abbreviated power play chance after Anthony Beauvillier interferes with Braden Holtby. Fifteen seconds later John Carlson gets whistled for interference
- Oh, jeez. Josh Bailey scores on his own net with Greiss pulled. Goal gets credited to Oshie.
And finally, this...
So that’s all folks! The Capitals return to action Sunday against the Rangers.