It was another competitive Islanders-Capitals tilt, surprisingly low-scoring despite back-and-forth play. In the end, the Islanders went a full 0 for 6 on the powerplay and got what they deserved.
Shots were only 25-24 for the Islanders (8 on their powerplays, while the Caps collected 4 on their two extra-man sessions). In Kyle Okposo's return he spent time on the point, as did Frans Nielsen in his.
Those are the Islanders' go-to forwards, put in position to score against the Capitals' third-string goalie. You can't ask for a better setup, really; but the Capitals PK never broke, and the Isles PP never made them. Michael Grabner picked up the lone Islanders goal, on a breakaway just 1:37 after Nicklas Backstrom had made it 2-0. That was the end of the scoring for both sides.
- The lineup decision to scratch Rob Schremp was, of course, just a continuation of the crowd that has existed ever since Schremp arrived: The Islanders have three centers in Tavares-Nielsen-Bailey, and Schremp does not want to and perhaps cannot play wing. Bailey can, of course, but Schremp's play has been disappointing of late. He is the type who still may need the ol' scratch wake-up call from time to time.
- Scratching Schremp against the Capitals was a little curious though, since they are a good team and you want all hands on deck. However, they also possess a dangerous counterattack that could punish Schremp's more imaginative forays. Maybe the timing was convenient because of both Nielsen and Okposo's return to the lineup. Regardless, the interesting thing will be how they proceed from here. Seems like Jeremy Colliton would drop to the fourth line and force one of that line's wingers out.
- The Islanders overall played pretty physically. From a pure hockey standpoint, it had a nice flow to it with a lot of tit-for-tat physical moments.
- The Islanders were clearly focused on limiting Ovechkin's solo chances, and to my eyes they did that, limiting him to one shot on target. Of course, that shot created a rebound that Backstrom converted -- and Ovechkin earned the primary assist with a pass on the first goal. Pick your poison, I guess; you'll eventually die either way.
- Heh, you know who got six shots on goal? Jason Chimera, who scored the opener.
- Okposo looked like a guy happy to be back but with rust to shake off. According to the official sheet, he landed one shot on goal, had five other attempts blocked, and two more that went wide.
- From what I saw -- while babysitting four nieces and nephews, and DVR-ing backward for big plays -- both goalies were solid if not tested a great deal, despite the many powerplays. In the second period, Braden Holtby made a nice glove save through traffic that I couldn't believe he saw, but upon further review the point shop was fluttering on end so it may have been easier to follow.
- FIG Winner: Cheers to Kaonashi for picking Grabner with the closest time. It was Grabner's 12th goal of the season.
Well, to me that was a hockey game. With all its chances and misses and "oh if only's." Tough result, but that kind of theater is why I watch.