It was a rough start, an OK-ish middle and a bad end, and in total, it ended with a bad loss for the New York Islanders.
The Washington Capitals took their second straight game at Nassau Coliseum, 6-3, to take a three-point lead over New York in the East division race.
Let’s take a look at some of the finer details of what happened in this one as the regular season’s end draws closer.
Sorokin does not have his best
Right from the get-go, Ilya Sorokin let in a soft one.
A little over 2:30 into in the first period, the Capitals registered their first shot on goal and it snuck by Sorokin’s pad one one he’s going to want back. Garnett Hathaway flung a shot from the nearside wall and it just found it’s way to the back of the net. It was a poor way to start the game for the rookie netminder and the team as a whole.
In the second period, the Islanders cut the deficit to 4-3 and it remained that way for the opening minutes until Evgeny Kuznetsov essentially put the game out of reach. He skated into the zone along the right wing and wristed a shot that went under Sorokin’s arm for Washington’s fifth goal. It was another one of the soft variety that he’d like to get a re-do at.
There were plenty of defensive lapses otherwise so this burden of this game doesn’t fall squarely on Sorokin. But in a game with division positioning directly on the line, good goaltending was necessary and the Isles didn’t really get it.
Overall, he saved 24 of 30 shots.
Power play is a bright spot
As bad as the Islanders’ man advantage has been over the last month-plus, it turned things around in a big way Saturday. The unit was a perfect 2-for-2, with connections from Anthony Beauvillier and JG Pageau.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 25, 2021
Coming into the night since the start of April, the Islanders had only scored on three power plays total. Having a gritty goal from Beauvillier near the net and one from Pageau batting the puck out of midair gave the Islanders’ extra-man group a little more puck luck and momentum.
Not enough push in the third
Pageau scored his aforementioned goal at the end of the second and put the Islanders in prime position to make a comeback in the third. But the response just wasn’t really there.
Washington pushed play and had over 53 percent of the chances in the third, according to Natural Stat Trick. But not just that, the Islanders didn’t record a single high danger chance in the final 20 minutes. When you’re not really testing the goaltender, it’s hard to get the puck into the net.
Even in the first period where the Capitals held the edge in total shot attempts 25-16, the Islanders actually led in high danger attempts at 9-3.
The Islanders carried a paltry 25.56 expected goals percentage in the third, which generally doesn’t translate to goals and did not this evening.
The Islanders get a third straight crack at Washington on Tuesday night in D.C. at 7 p.m.