Islanders Land Game One

7:00pm April 15

The Verizon Center was ready for the puck to drop and start off the Washington Capitals opening round game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Eager Capitals fans colored the sports arena red, with exceptions of occasional blue spots every here and there from the fans of the visiting New York Islanders. Every seat on every level was filled up and the excitement was undeniable. After an eminent regular season, there was hope the Capitals could take game on on home ice.

From the drop of the puck, it took six minutes until the first goal was scored. Poor passing from the Capitals side let the Islanders come back up on them. The Islanders center Brock Nelson scored, beating Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on a shot he misplayed that went underneath the goalies glove, assisted by left wing Josh Bailey. Eleven minutes into the game, center Eric Fehr got a two minute penalty for holding. In the final minute of the first period the Capitals Center Marcus Johansson made the Capitals go into the second period all even his goal assisted from center Brooks Laich. With the period winding down, Johansson evened the score at one with a wrist shot over the left pad of goalie Jaroslav Halak.

That was the extent of the scoring for the Capitals. After a long break due to a glass that came loose behind one of the goals, requiring a replacement pane, the clock started rolling again. Shortly after, the Capitals got an icing call, giving the Islanders an opportunity to put out their top line. Four minutes into the second period, the Islanders center Ryan Strome scored, making the score 2-1. Only seconds later, the Islanders got their first penalty, a two minute penalty on Michael Grabner for interference. Half way into second period, left wing Josh Bailey scored the second goal of the period leaving the score at 3-1.

As the third period started, the hope to even the score was hanging in the balance. But the Capitals never found their top gear. Attacks and unlucky bounces contributed to their goal drought. With two minutes remaining the Islanders managed to score yet another goal, this one an open net goal, again by center Brock Nelson assisted by center Anders Lee.

The game ended with a score of 4-1 to the Islanders. The Capitals relied more on their strength in their game while the Islanders relied more on speed. To win the next game the Caps have to set up more goal chances for Ovechkin and play quicker.

The Capitals had 25 shots to the Islanders 27. The Capitals have a reputation of playing well in the regular season, but once they have made the playoffs they lose their effective game plan. They hope to even the series next game against the Islanders on Friday, again on home ice.