The Islanders were on the other end of a comeback effort as the Capitals tallied a third-period power-play goal to earn a 2-1 win and spoil Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson's season debut at the Verizon Center last night.
With the game tied at 1 in the third period, Blake Comeau was whistled for a roughing penalty to put the Islanders down a man with less than five minutes to play and Washington got a fortuitous bounce. Ovechkin unleashed a one-timer that bounced off Nicklas Backstrom's skate to take the lead and deliver the Islanders their first regulation loss of the season.
That flukey goal and what they felt was a questionable penalty left the Islanders reeling.
"I didn't agree with it," Comeau said. "I thought I missed the guy completely."
"Watching a replay, it wasn't a roughing or whatever they called," Gordon said. "The guy he went to hit actually pushed his arms up to Blake."
Despite the loss, Roloson was sharp in his first start of the season, making 24 saves. But the Islanders couldn't bail out his strong goaltending effort or build on their first-period lead.
"Roli was great," coach Scott Gordon said after the game. "He had a solid game for us, especially in the second period and he gave us a chance to stay in the game."
Rookie Nino Niederreiter went five-hole on Michal Neuvirth for his first goal as an Islander at 3:14 in the first period. Captain Doug Weight picked up his third assist in three games on the play as the Islanders took an early 1-0 lead.
"It was a great feeling, " Niederreiter said, "but the end result wasn't."
Roloson continued to play well in the second, making a tremendous stop on Capitals winger Jason Chimera to rob him of a point-blank opportunity midway through the period, but despite strong goaltending and two successful penalty-killing efforts, the Islanders surrendered the game-tying goal late in the second.
Scoring his fourth goal of the season, Alexander Ovechkin beat Roloson from the left circle at 18:19. With that second-period equalizer, Ovechkin extended his goal streak to three games.
Outshot 15-6 in the second frame, the Islanders couldn’t generate enough in their offensive zone to match the Capitals pressure.
"The second period got away from us," Gordon said. "We spent too much time in their own zone."
Despite success on the power play in the first two games of the season—the Islanders entered last night’s contest ranking 2nd in the league with a 5-for-13 record—they looked disheveled with the man-advantage last night.
With the Islanders unable to cash in on three power-play opportunities, the Capitals pristine penalty-killing record remained intact. They have now successfully killed off all 15 penalties this season.
“Any time you play the Capitals, it’s a big test,” coach Scott Gordon said before the game. “They’re a dynamic offensive team, they’ve stepped it up with their penalty kill to keep pucks out of their net, and the task certainly isn’t any easier [this year].”
Notes and Quotes: Last night James Wisniewski served the first of a two-game suspension handed down after the 26-year-old defenseman made a lewd gesture toward Sean Avery in the Islanders’ 6-4 win over the Rangers Monday at Nassau Coliseum. Jack Hillen, who was scratched the first two games, replaced Wisniewski in the lineup. John Tavares, who suffered a mild concussion on opening night against Dallas on Saturday, skated for the second day in a row and was reportedly symptom-free.
Key Stat: Neuvirth made 23 saves
In the Crease: Neuvirth has now recorded three straight wins.
Up Next: Islanders at Penguins, October 15 at 7 p.m.