The Capitals toppled the Islanders in New York Tuesday night, winning in overtime by a final score of 2-1. Washington knotted up the quarterfinal series at two games apiece.
Nicklas Backstrom sent a raucous Nassau Coliseum crowd home disappointed when his shot from the point snuck through at 11:09 in OT. Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak was screened in front by Caps forward Joel Ward and didn’t see the puck until it was behind him.
The first 10 minutes of Game 4 lacked action; the Islanders had the majority of the early chances but the Capitals struck first at 13:05. Alex Ovechkin expertly deflected an innocuous-looking point shot by John Carlson to give the Caps the 1-0 advantage. Halak was screened on that play as well.
The Islanders answered back with just 12.6 seconds left in the first period, as Casey Cizikas cashed in off a rebound left by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby off a shot by Cal Clutterbuck.
There was no scoring in the second period, but it wasn’t for lack of chances; the Islanders squandered three power play opportunities in that frame. Caps forward Tom Wilson took two of those penalties; one was for kneeing and the other one was a charging call, and that play may invoke supplemental discipline from the NHL. At 14:06 Wilson left his feet and smashed into Lubomir Visnovsky, who was shaken up and left the game. His availability for Game 5 is in question, and an Islanders defensive unit that is already missing bruiser Travis Hamonic could get even thinner.
The Isles’ power play has been an albatross so far this postseason; they are now 0-for-10 after going 0-for-4 in Tuesday night’s game.
The third period also saw no scoring. Anders Lee took a holding penalty for the Isles at 6:40 and Halak was forced to make a highlight-reel save on that power play opportunity on a shot by Washington’s Marcus Johansson in front of the net. That power play also triggered a shorthanded scoring chance for the Isles, but Clutterbuck hit the post on a two-on-one breakout opportunity.
The Islanders looked like the better team for most of the night and the final stats reflect that; New York out-hit Washington 50-38 and outshot them 36-27. They’ll take whatever solace they can in that as they continue to seek their first playoff series win since 1992-’93.
The Islanders travel to Washington for a pivotal Game 5, which is scheduled for Thursday (7 p.m.).