It's Just A Loss.

The Islanders had won 5 straight coming into tonight, & 10 out of their last 11, so  you knew they had to lose eventually.  Fortunately, it was a game on the road with their back-up goalie in net.  Unfortunately, it was still against a division rival on the first night of a back-to-back.

First Period-

If the Islanders had played the rest of the game the way they played the first five minutes, they would have won 5-2.  There was constant pressure in Washington's zone, lots of shots on net, & some good opportunities to get the puck past Braden Holtby.  Barry Trotz took a very early timeout to calm his team down & berate them for such a poor start, and after that things started to tilt for the Caps.  About 11 minutes in, Matt Martin was called for a hook, & the Capitals capitalized on the PP when Andre Burakovsky redirected a Matt Niskanen shot from the point.  In all honestly regardless of the deflection it was a soft goal by Chad Johnson, who did not play well all night.  A Lubomir Visnovsky giveaway led to a two-on-one where Mo-Jo Marcus Johansson sniped one over Johnson's right shoulder after using Brian Strait as a screen.  The Islanders came storming back with about a minute and a half to go, both rebounds, as John Tavares & Anders Lee were both in the right place at the right time to send home frutuitious bounces.  Matt Martin ended the period with a fight against Tom Wilson, their second in as many games, and the score was all tied up at the end of the first.

Second Period-

The Islanders were playing alright the second period.  There was a lot of sloppiness between both teams early on, & Brock Nelson received a penalty for hooking.  The Isles killed that, but couldn't get anything going on the offensive side of the ice.  Washington was shutting down all skating lanes, and every shot seemed to be blocked by a defenseman.  Halfway through the period, Calvin de Haan misplayed a puck off the boards & Alex Ovechkin took it down the right hash & snapped one past Chad Johnson.  It was another sloppy goal to give up, and it seemed like Johnson was in a bad position to stop the shot.  The Islanders were given a PP with about 5 minutes left but gave up more chances up a man.  Overall it wasn't a terrible period but wasn't anything that could warrant them a win.  Their best opportunity was actually on the penalty kill, where Ryan Strome ringed a slap shot off the post.

Third Period-

Boy was this a period to forget.  Chad Johnson actually played relatively well in this period, saving the Islanders multiple times from giveaways in their own zone.  Six minutes in Evgeny Kuznetsov sniped one past Johnson, giving the Capitals a formidable 4-2 lead.  The Islanders couldn't really generate anything on offense, and gave up an EN goal by Joel Ward after they pulled Johnson with about two minutes left to play.  The Islanders looked pretty lethargic in the third, and although the effort was there, the Capitals just looked to be a bigger & faster team tonight.  It happens, but hopefully this is only a hiccup and not a sign of bad things to come.

Quick Hits-

-Chad Johnson has got to be better.  He just has to.  I understand his stats may have been inflated from the bruising, defensive style of hockey the Bruins play, but to give up two soft goals in a relatively close game is unacceptable.  We need to steal from wins from teams in the division when our backup is in, and we can't always score 5 goals to cover for Johnson's mistakes.

-I think when Michael Grabner comes back, Matt Martin is the odd man out of the lineup.  He takes too many penalties, and even with his "hot streak" (2 goals in 4 games), there's not enough offensive presence there to keep giving him chances.  I also think he's pressing way too hard to fight every team's tough guy.  He might be trying to prove his worth every game, and although valiant, sometimes it's not necessary to drop the gloves.

-I'm hoping there are no Islanders fans starting to say "here comes the old Islanders."  Every team is going to have a bad game, hell the L.A. Kings had half a bad season & they still won the Stanley Cup.  This is a different team, and with time people will trust them more & more as the season progresses.

-Tomorrow night will be a big matchup against the Devils.  Game is at 7 PM @ NVMC so go out and support your Islanders!

Tweet @SupRos22 if you'd like to discuss anything Isles, and follow @TCLIsles for more coverage.  

-Chris Passarelli