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New York Islanders

Islanders Out of Sorts in Clutterbuck’s Return, Lose 5-1 to Capitals

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Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie scoring against New York Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov (AP)
Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) scores past New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

ELMONT, NY — The New York Islanders did not bring much to their game on Saturday night as they fell 5-1 to the Washington Capitals.

The Islanders are now 34-26-8 and hold down the second wild-card spot with a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers, who have one game in hand.

LINES:

Anders Lee-Bo Horvat-Simon Holmstrom
Zach Parise-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Hudson Fasching
Pierre Engvall-Josh Bailey-Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech-Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov-Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho-Noah Dobson

Semyon Varlamov
Ilya Sorokin

GOALS:

Pierre Engvall gave the New York Islanders a 1-0 lead at 5:18 of the first period as he banked a shot off of a Capitals defenseman and in for his 13th of the season and first in blue and orange.

Dylan Strome tied the game at one with 6:41 to play in the first as his shot beat Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov over the blocker for his 16th goal of the season.

T.J. Oshie gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead with 46.9 seconds to play in the first as he tapped home a Rasmus Sandin pass for his 17th of the season.

Anthony Mantha scored his 10th of the season as he roofed a rebound at 4:15 of the third period.

Nic Dowd and Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:01 apart to give the Capitals a 5-1 lead.

Defensive Breakdowns Cost Islanders Early

Despite the New York Islanders scoring the game’s first goal, two defensive-zone breakdowns had the Islanders trailing 2-1 entering the second period.

On the Capitals’ first goal, courtesy of Dylan Strome, Noah Dobson and Sebastian Aho took the same man in front.

That allowed Strome, who was left unguarded, to pick his spot and beat Varlamov.

With under a minute to play in the first, Dobson left his assignment to go after a Capital inside the left circle, and Ryan Pulock couldn’t get to the net in time.

Holmstrom did get caught up toward the blue line.

In the third, in the dying seconds of a Capitals power play, the Islanders allowed two players to be wide open in front.

Varlamov stopped the first shot, an Ovechkin shot, but Mantha easily banked home the rebound with Varlamov down and out.

Islanders Out of Sorts With Clutterbuck Back

New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert had Cal Clutterbuck take line rushes with Josh Bailey and Pierre Engvall but started him with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas.

Throughout the first period, Clutterbuck went back and forth between the third and fourth lines.

However, in the second period, Clutterbuck remained on the top line, where he remained for the rest of the game.

Not Clutterbuck’s fault, but it just seemed like there wasn’t a proper place for him, and it’s something Lambert has to figure out quickly because his game plan was to run all four lines effectively–and he soon realized that wasn’t going to be the reality.

Pierre Engvall Scores 1st Goal With Islanders

It had not been easy for Pierre Engvall through his first three games with the Islanders. In his second game, he didn’t play the final 15:01, and in his third game, he played sparingly.

But he had some success against the Capitals, with five points in six games.

He added another as he banked one in off of defenseman Alexander Alexeyev:

UP NEXT: The New York Islanders are in Los Angeles to face the Kings Tuesday night at 10:30 PM ET.