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Capitals at Islanders Recap: Vanecek Shuts Door In New UBS Arena For Caps Win

In first game at new UBS Arena, the Capitals came out with a big win

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Islanders Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

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For the first time this season the Capitals visited the New York Islanders in the brand-new UBS Arena. The Islanders have had a tough season but played better lately going 6-2-2 in their last 10. It was a snoozer most the game, which isn’t surprising considering both teams’ systems are very defensive oriented, but it’s never bad when the Caps win.

Plus: It was just an overall good game by the Capitals. Strong defensive effort and Vitek Vanecek didn’t let anything get by him. It’s good to get back in the win column.

Minus: It’s nothing they can really control, but staying healthy is still an issue. Conor Sheary was put on Covid protocol right before the game started, then T.J. Oshie left the game just three minutes into the game. You could also tell that Alex Ovechkin isn’t close to 100% and Nick Backstrom is still trying shake off all the rust.

A few more notes on the game:

  • Vanecek made a strong save a couple minutes in on an odd man rush. One of the goalies need to take the helm and Vanecek made a good case for himself early.
  • Some idiot was hating on the Capitals second line before the game began but that line was first to strike after a nice pass from Aleksei Protas to Tom Wilson who ripped it by Semyon Varlamov to give the good guys a 1-0 lead.
  • The Caps faced some injury concerns early in the game. Oshie left the bench pretty early and Evgenvy Kuznetsov collided with Ovechkin, causing him to gingerly return to the bench. Luckily, Kuznetsov returned pretty quickly but Oshie did not. He was ruled out with an upper body injury.
  • The Capitals got the first power play of the game. They didn’t score, like usual, but they did look good with a little bit more movement and chances.
  • The Capitals took their one goal lead into the intermission. It was a strong first period by the boys in red but the first period hasn’t been their issue, second periods have been. They need to avoid another middle frame collapse.
  • The Islanders got their first power play of the game five minutes into the second period. They have scored in eight straight home games while on the power play so the Capitals could have their work cut out for them. The Caps killed the first penalty quite well.
  • The Capitals got their second power play with five minutes left in the second period but couldn’t do anything with it. Right after Brett Leason “tripped” an Islanders player (it wasn’t a trip) and the Caps went to the penalty kill and killed it.
  • A little over into the a minute into the third period, Vanecek made a huge save to keep the Caps ahead. He wasn’t tested a whole lot but Vanecek came up big when he needed.
  • Half way through the third Justin Schultz took a hooking penalty. You couldn’t help but feel the Islanders were going to score on it but the Capitals made good work of it and killed it off.
  • Caps got a little pep in their step after that kill and created strong scoring chances. They didn’t score but it helped kill the Islanders’ momentum that they were building up.
  • With net empty for the Islanders, the great Ovechkin scored, but not before Vanecek had a couple great saves. A strong win by the boys.

Up Next: The Capitals return home tomorrow to play the Vancouver Canucks at 2PM. It will be the exact opposite of the Islanders. The Canucks are a high flying offensive team that play with speed. Caps will need to adjust to get a win.