Stanley Cup Playoffs
Not only did their series opening 4-1 victory in Washington lay to rest any fears of a sloppy regular season finish bleeding into the playoffs, the visiting Islanders went into D.C. and arrested home-ice advantage away from the Capitals.
On this night at least, the Islanders weaknesses were their strengths.
Defensively, they kept the NHL's best Power Play scoreless in two opportunities. They limited the Capitals to 25 SOG, with Alex Ovechkin (8) taking a near 1/3 of them. Joel Ward was second with just 3 SOG. The Caps lone score came with a minute left in the opening period by Marcus Johansson.
Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves for the victory. Allowing last minute goals, however, are always quite distressing. I'd also like to offer him some advice, which is to stay in net! Don't play the puck, and everything should be fine. Treat the trapezoid like a forbidden zone, and stay between the pipes.
There was one seemingly certain moment in the 3rd period when the Caps should have victimized Halak for being out of position, but, Washington failed to capitalize (pardon the pun), and generally mustered little all night. They played with the ineffectiveness and speed of congressional urgency.
As was widely predicted, Washington goalie Braden Holtby was not good. He faced 26 shots and failed to stop 3 of them. The Islanders then tacked on an empty-net goal to seal Game One.
What Islander fan isn't excited to see Brock Nelson scoring again? After a scorching first half, he's cooled considerably since New Year's. He posted 20 regular season goals this season, but only 6 since January (another 6 goals were scored back in October).
On this night, Brock Nelson found the net twice. He opened the scoring at the 6:06 mark of the 1st period, then capped-off the Isles victory with his second goal into an empty net.