ELMONT, N.Y. —The New York Islanders were defeated by the Washington Capitals 2-0 on Saturday at UBS Arena. With the loss, the Islanders three-game win streak came to a close along with their point streak (5) and home point streak (6). The Islanders fall to 11-13-6, and 5-6-3 on home ice.
How it Happened:
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson scored the eventual game-winner as he beat New York Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov blocker side from the low slot at 4:35 of the first period. Aliaksei Protas picked up the lone assist on Wilson’s 10th of the season.
Washington forward Alex Ovechkin scored an empty-net goal with 10.2 seconds to play in regulation. Evgeni Kuznetzov picked up the lone assist on Ovechkin’s 25th of the season.
Washington Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek turned aside all 23 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season.
Sloppy Passing Limited Islanders Offensive Pressure
From the start of the contest until the final buzzer, the New York Islanders were out of sync. The Islanders gave the puck away 15 times in the game and their inability to connect on basic passes led to weak breakouts and limited rushes up the ice.
In all three zones, pucks to wide-open teammates were thrown into skates.
While on the last power-play chance of the contest, Noah Dobson failed to feed Oliver Wahlstrom in a spot where he could one-time the puck. After two failed passes, Wahlstrom elected to not pass the puck back to the point.
With the net empty, Mat Barzal tried to get the puck back to Dobson at the point, but it was intercepted.
Barzal and Casey Cizikas finished the game with four giveaways which led the Islanders.
The Islanders recorded only 13 five-on-five shots.
Missed Chances Prove Costly
The New York Islanders did not make the most of their minimal chances in the contest. After the sixty-minute affair, the Islanders finished with 23 shots on goal and key misses at inopportune times
While on the power play in the second period, Bailey received a pass towards the back-door post but elected to look pass rather than shoot.
Oliver Wahlstrom made a confident move in the third period, but could not beat Capitals’ netminder Vitek Vanecek.
Out of the Islanders 23 shots on goal, only eight were considered high danger.
Varlamov Builds on Last Two Outings
New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov entered Saturday’s contest on a two-game winning streak and had played more like the Vezina-caliber candidate player from 2020-21.
#Isles Semyon Varlamov enters today's contest with two straight wins. He owns a .975 SV% with a 1.00 GAA over that span.
On the season: 2-5-1, .910 SV%, 2.77 GAA
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 15, 2022
Varlamov allowed just one goal in the contest as he turned aside 35 of 36 shots.
Due the Islanders’ sloppiness, Varlamov was called upon to make big saves to keep his team in the contest.
The Islanders took two penalties in the contest as Varlamov was the best penalty killer on the ice. He stopped all three power-play shots he faced.
Even with the Islanders on the power play, Varlamov had to deny a short-handed opportunity.
Varlamov stopped all seven high-danger chances that came his way in the loss.
Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Scott Mayfield, Semyon Varlamov, and Lane Lambert were made available following the game:
“At the end of the day, it’s a one-goal game. Varly gave us a great chance, a great opportunity and we come up short at the end. We understand that (we) could have played a lot better and earlier on but we played good enough to get us give us a chance at the end.”- Anders Lee
“I thought we did a good job being physical and taking away their time and space. Especially on the power play we really didn’t give them too many options. When we did Varly came up with some big saves.”- Casey Cizikas.
“The biggest thing is to make sure we get our shots through when we do have looks. They blocked shots. So you saw there at the end they get in the way…So just getting those through and then when we can just move the puck up, getting it clean out of our zone stuff. You just got to be better.” – Scott Mayfield
“I feel good today…overall played decent game today.”- Semyon Varlamov
“Disappointed obviously with the result and a little bit disappointed with our execution. Didn’t think we didn’t think we made a lot of plays or weren’t handling the puck the way we could, should, or normally would.” – Lane Lambert
Game Notes: New York Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who missed Thursday’s contest due to the birth of his child, was back in the lineup Saturday. Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left the contest in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
Islanders forward Ross Johnston was suspended three games by NHL Player Safety for an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils’ forward A.J. Greer in their contest this past Thursday. The earliest he can return to the lineup is Friday, Jan. 21.
Matt Martin was back in the lineup after missing Thursday’s contest.
Associate coach Lane Lambert filled in for head coach Barry Trotz who is in COVID-19 protocol (Jan. 11). Forward Kyle Palmieri, who returned to practice on Jan. 3 remained on IR and did not participate in warmups before the game against the Washington Capitals.
Up Next: The New York Islanders will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, Jan. 17 at UBS Arena.
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