Game 1 to the Island, as the immortal Brennan Burke call goes. The New York Islanders defeat the Washington Capitals with a score of 4-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Capitals played a solid 40 minutes of Hockey, but the Islanders played an excellent final 20 minutes to take the game. The Islanders looked sloppy most of the night. There were a bunch of bad penalties, mishandled passes, bad breakout attempts, and more. Despite this, it all came down to who wanted the win more. This is how the Islanders won.
The Islanders are notorious for taking minimal shots on goal during games. This seemed to be the case during today’s game, as they only had two shots in the first period. The Islanders started to pick up the pace after TJ Oshie’s second powerplay goal. This would ultimately lead to a Jordan Eberle wrister that would somehow sneak in over Braden Holtby’s left shoulder. As the 3rd period started, Islanders fans saw a spark in their team’s play. The Islanders began to dictate the pace of the game, and make it an all Islanders period. The Islanders would end up scoring three more goals during the 3rd period and seal the win. You can’t score without shooting.
A Quicker Pace
The Islanders have some of the fastest players in the league, like Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. If a game breaks down into a fastbreak opportunity galore, the Islanders will win that game. The Capitals are a good team, but they’re not fast enough to keep up with the Islanders’ young guns. The Islanders kept the pressure on in the 3rd period, and it led them to many great high percentage scoring chances. The Islanders would make the best of those chances and score three goals, as previously stated.
I don’t know what it is about Barry Trotz’s system, but it is insanely hard to outplay the Islanders when they’re at full strength. Especially recently, the New York Islanders haven’t been outplayed 5v5. If the Capitals weren’t gifted seven powerplays, there could’ve been a shutout in the works. The Islanders look very strong in all facets of the game and didn’t let up any easy chances.
Winning game 1 of any series is a huge victory. It takes the pressure of off game 2, and it allows you to be more aggressive in your approach. Islanders fans certainly feel relief with a 1-0 series lead.