The New York Islanders looked like they were poised to contend for a playoff spot a few weeks ago, but the team has only managed to win one of their last 10 games. This long stretch of poor play has essentially ruined the team’s chances to reaching the postseason. The Islanders had a chance to get a much-needed win when they played the Washington Capitals on Thursday, March 15, but they ultimately suffered an embarrassing blowout loss to the top team in the Metropolitan division.
Thursday’s game got off to a promising start for the Islanders. They grabbed a quick lead in front of their home fans when Brock Nelson notched his 16th goal of the season. New York did a great job of limiting the Washington offense for most of the period, but the Capitals still found a way to take advantage of their few scoring chances. Lars Eller and TJ Oshie scored goals within one minute of each other to quickly give Washington the lead. The chaotic stretch continued when Andrew Ladd tied the game exactly one minute after Oshie’s goal. The game calmed down after Ladd’s goal, but the Capitals were still able to grab the lead on a late goal from Dmitry Orlov.
New York continued to dominate possession of the puck in the second period, but they could not keep Washington off the scoreboard. Goals from Andre Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom gave the Capitals a three-goal lead. Washington’s five goals came on only 12 shots, so the Islanders were forced to pull Christopher Gibson from the net. Jaroslav Halak provided the stable goaltending New York desperately needed, but the damage had already been done.
The Islanders fired shots on net early and often in the third period, but Phillip Grubauer proved why he is considered one of the best goalies in the NHL. Despite having almost no possession of the puck in the third period, the Capitals extended their lead with a goal from John Carlson. New York’s hard work on offense finally paid off when Ryan Pulock scored his seventh goal of the season. An empty net goal from Washington late in the period gave them a 7-3 blowout victory.
Despite being out of playoff contention, the Islanders still want to finish the regular season strong. They will look to get payback against the Capitals when they travel to Washington on Friday, March 16.