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Capitals vs. Islanders Recap: Caps Embargo the Islanders Offense in 1-0 Win

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Caps sweep a 3-game set with the Islanders with one of their best defensive game of the season.

NHL: New York Islanders at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals played a pair of very strong games against the New York Islanders, and were facing the Islanders for a third time in a row. Although beating the Islanders three games in a row is far from easy, the Caps were supported by fans for the first time all year! The Caps got off to a strong start in this one, taking a lead just minutes into the game on a top-shelf strike by Daniel Sprong, which held up the entire first period. No goals were scored in the second, although the Caps had a number of quality chances stopped by Ilya Sorokin. That 1-0 result held in the third, as the Caps claimed a 1-0 victory.

Here’s tonight’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: This might have been the best defensive game the Caps played all year. At 5v5, the Caps had more high danger chances than the Islanders had shots...period.

Minus: Although the Caps had lots and lots of chances, they weren’t able to convert many of them into goals.

And now, this:

A few more notes on the game:

  • As mentioned above, the Capitals were welcoming fans back into the building for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic. In doing so, the Caps made a special point to bring in frontline workers to help cheer the team on.
  • The Caps got off to a really strong start against the Isles. Daniel Sprong, who was re-inserted into the lineup with Alex Ovechkin out injured, fended off an Islanders defender to snip it above Ilya Sorokin’s glove to give the Caps a 1-0 lead.
  • Although Ovechkin wasn’t a part of the game, he certainly was missed, particularly on the powerplay. The Caps had over a minute of 5-3 advantage late in the third, but T.J. Oshie (taking Ovechkin’s position on the powerplay) buzzed a few shots well-wide. As a result, the first period ended with the Caps hanging on to a 1-0 lead.
  • The Caps should have been on the 5-3 for two more minutes except for an egregious missed call by the refs. Islanders defensemen Scott Mayfield ran into Tom Wilson, breaking his stick...but the refs left the whistles in their pockets. Your latest reminder that Tim Peel’s transgression was just to get caught, as “game management” happens every night in the NHL.
  • Things only escalated from there. After a dirty hit by Matt Martin on Michael Raffl, Zdeno Chara got involved, throwing the fistacuffs with the Islanders forward. Thankfully, Raffl was no worse for the wear and would return shorty afterwards.
  • Although the Caps had tons of chances in the second, Sorokin stood firm. In particular, the Caps top pair of Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson played particular well. Each was on the ice for Sprong’s goal, and had an expected goals percentage above 80%.
  • The referring this game was...suspect at best. Despite the Caps outpossessing and outplaying the Islanders for the vast majority of the game, the Caps didn’t get another powerplay for the rest of the game.
  • Although the Caps weren’t able to convert any of the remaining chances, they didn’t allow the Islanders anything of consequence and were able to close out the 1-0 victory.