Justin Schultz put the dagger in the New York Islanders’ heart on Tuesday.
The Washington Capitals forward broke a 2-2 tie with 26.4 seconds left in the game and led Washington to a 3-2 win over the Islanders. It was the second consecutive loss for the Isles, who are in the middle of a five-game road trip.
Schultz was able to beat Semyon Varlamov with a quick wrister off the rush.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) January 27, 2021
“We felt like we were going to get a point and not lose a point,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Hopefully get it in the last shift or two or get it in overtime. (The PK) energized our bench and then we backed off. They came down and then scored a goal late. That’s a missed opportunity. We need more from our group.
“I warned our group about the play of the Caps.”
The loss was even more heartbreaking considering the Islanders penalty killed had managed to kill off a five-minute major to Leo Komarov late in the game. The Islanders PK unit finished the night 1-for-2.
And the Islanders never managed to fully capitalize on the momentum generated from the big kill.
“There was three minutes left or something like that and at that point,” Andy Greene said. “We have to somehow figure just how to get it to the end of the game. Then try to get the extra point in OT at that point.”
Noah Dobson and Mathew Barzal scored the Islanders’ only goals of the game, and Varlamov made 33 saves in the loss. The loss came as the Islanders announced that Anthony Beauvillier would be placed on the injured reserve list following an injury in Sunday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Washington was without four players due to COVID-19 protocols. Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov were out for Washington, giving the Islanders a prime chance to come away with points in Tuesday’s game.
“You got maybe the greatest goal scorer of all-time up in the stands,” Trotz said. “They had some injuries with Kuznetsov, who is a dynamic player. (Nicklas) Backstrom got hit and missed some time. (Lars) Eller missed a little bit of time it looked like at the end. … I just felt we had one line tonight. That’s all I felt like I had tonight.”
John Carlson scored the game’s opening goal 11:06 into the first period while Washington was on the power play. Justin Schultz’s shot from the point was stopped, but Varlamov couldn’t handle the rebound and it went right to Carlson for the easy goal.
Dobson evened the game for the Islanders at one when he threw the puck at the net from the point that found its way through traffic and beat Vanecek. The goal was Dobson’s second career goal in the NHL and first of the season.
Barzal scored his team-leading third goal of the year after Zdeno Chara turned over the puck in his own end and the Islanders star was able to backhand the puck past Vanecek.
MATH-EW. 😖 pic.twitter.com/ybLxyb47Ym
— NHL (@NHL) January 27, 2021
Daniel Sprong was able to tie the game once again late in the second period. The Washington forward was able to beat Varlamov with a shot from the slot at 17:21.
“It’s never fun losing,” Barzal said. “A minute, two minutes there, as much as we’re trying to win the game we’re trying to get it to overtime. Every point is big. Just the way it happened is pretty heartbreaking.”