The Capitals and the Islanders faced off for the second time in three days tonight, and the Capitals sure did ice A Lineup for the occasion:
Capitals lines vs Islanders— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 28, 2021
Nicklas Backstrom was thankfully back after taking a puck to the face in Tuesday’s game, but Lars Eller was out tonight after Leo Komarov boarded him two nights ago. Enter NHL center T.J. Oshie. Yes, that is Oshbabe centering the second line. Also of note, Vitek Vanecek made his fourth consecutive start tonight. The Caps have been winning games with their depleted lineup, but would things finally catch up to them tonight? Spoiler alert: they did not.
Here’s Thursday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Capitals played...really well in the second period? 11 Capitals had points in the second period.
Minus: Instead of building off their incredible second period, the Caps sat back in the third and didn’t generate much of anything. Their lone shot on goal was Wilson’s empty netter. Woof.
And now, pandas!
Eleven more notes on the game:
1. The Islanders got on the board first just over ten minutes into the period. Oliver Wahlstrom tallied his first NHL goal — yes, you read that right, yet another first NHL goal scored against the Caps — with a wacky double deflection off Trevor van Riemsdyk in front of the net. Yet another example of how throwing the puck on net can’t hurt.
Look, sometimes the puck just goes your way...— NHL (@NHL) January 29, 2021
Congrats on No. 1, Oliver Wahlstrom! pic.twitter.com/MeaoJm06Nh
2. A mere 18 seconds later, Casey Cizikas gave New York the most dangerous lead in hockey. Cal Clutterbuck fired a shot from the blueline, and Cizikas skillfully redirected it past Vitek Vanecek. Two goals in 18 seconds? Yeah, that’s a less-than-ideal start for the Capitals.
3. Garnet Hathaway took an offensive zone holding penalty a minute later, giving the Islanders the first power play of the night. However, Brock Nelson was called for high-sticking on John Carlson with 30 seconds to go on Hathaway’s penalty so the Caps and Isles got to play some four-on-four hockey before Washington got their first power play chance of the night. The man-advantage unit looked okay and had some good puck movement, but they were unable to cash in.
4. With just over three minutes left in the first, Tom Wilson took a trip to the box for tripping. 49 seconds later, Anders Lee tapped in a rebound in front of Vanecek to put the Isles up 3-0 and cap off a rough first period for the guys rocking the red.
5. Washington finally got on the board with Conor Sheary’s first goal as a Capital nine minutes into the second period. John Carlson and Brenden Dillon recorded the assists, and according to Mike Vogel this is the tenth-straight Capitals goal with a defenseman involved in the scoring.
6. One goal was not enough for Sheary, so he scored his second of the game just 1:13 later with an absolute beauty of a redirect. The initial shot came from Zdeno Chara above the left circle, and Sheary had his stick in the perfect position to send it past Semyon Varlamov.
7. Garnet Hathaway tied things after he showed off his wheels and broke free for a rush down the right side of the ice. Hathaway fired the puck in stride and sniped it between Varlamov’s body and blocker for his second goal of the season. The Caps scored three goals in 2:04 and Barry Trotz called for a timeout.
GARNET HATHAWAY HAS ENTERED THE CHAT pic.twitter.com/LjOoJ7c8R1— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 29, 2021
8. Wahlstrom took a hooking penalty with seven minutes to go in the second and the Caps got their second power play chance of the night. John Carlson has apparently decided to temp in Ovi’s Office while the Great 8 is out of the lineup, and he scored a rocket of a one-timer over Varlamov’s glove. Carlson’s goal gave the Caps their first lead of the night.
9. BIG Z?! BIG Z!! Zdeno Chara has his first goal as a Capital, and boy was it an absolute bomb. Big Z had more than enough room to wind up and blast a shot past Varlamov’s blocker. Chara is now the oldest (and tallest) Washington Capital to ever score a goal. Also, make sure you catch the John Walton radio call for this one.
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??? pic.twitter.com/LJrwGxcTw8— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 29, 2021
And it would be a mistake if we didn’t ensure you saw the celly over by the bench...
10. Just 48 seconds into the third, Justin Schultz caught a puck to the face right after a faceoff. Schultz, who had two primary assists in the second period, immediately went down the tunnel and left a trail of blood on the ice. Unfortunately, Schultz did not return for the remainder of the game.
11. Richard Panik was called for interference on Cizikas with 3:12 left in the game. Cizikas was already falling, but Panik did give him a little push so he sat for two minutes. The Islanders pulled Varlamov for a six-on-four advantage, but that only lasted for 1:24 because Tom Wilson was tripped up. Wilson then put the game on ice with an empty netter with 18 seconds to cap off the 6-3 win.
Up next for the Caps: Boston comes to town on Saturday and Zdeno Chara gets to face his former team for the first time.