Capitals 5, Islanders 3
Scoresheet - Times - Post
Mike Green is now apart of a very elite group of defensemen in the NHL. He is one of only eight defensemen to score 30 goals in a single season. Green's thirtieth goal was also the game winner in a game that the Caps trailed or tied to that point. In fact nothing seemed to come easy for the Capitals against a very quick and rough New York Islander team that jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But the Caps overcome and walk away breaking the century mark in the standings and Green making history (again) and a 5-3 final score.
The Islanders were a tough team in the neutral zone early in the game. With nothing to lose, the Islanders certianly played like it. It created a few bad turnovers for the Capitals near their own blue line. The Islanders played a gritty, frustrating defense that kept the Capitals off kilter.
But that changed after John Erskine's fight with Joel Rechlicz who hit Erskine a bit late for the asking. Rechlicz, who was clearly looking to start something, dropped his gloves first and started throwing punches. But he wasn't called on the instigator, and Erskine got a right handed blow in early that kept the Islander from doing too much more. But the fight sparked the Caps.
Alex Ovechkin got the ball rolling in the scoring department not long after on a beautiful pass from Sergei Fedorov. The Caps were already down 2-0 when Feds gained the puck in the Islander zone and made a nifty pass around the back of the net to a wide open Ovi who shot it right at Islander goaltender Joey MacDonald and into the net. Ovechkin picks up his 54th goal of the year.
The goal that tied the game 2 all came off a bad turnover in the Islander zone and Keith Aucoin picked up the loose change (no pun intended). His first shot was saved, but he put in the rebounder for his first goal in 17 games at the NHL level.
Then it was the Mike Green show. He scored his 29th goal on the powerplay to tie the game at 3. Then off of a bad clear, he put in his 30th goal unassisted. Besides getting two big goals, he also had a monster hit against Islander resident neanderthal Tim Jackman. Jackman and Green were racing for the puck on the dump in and it looked as if Jackman was talking trash to Green as they both went for the puck. Green pulled up and laid out Jackman in the corner like a 9th grade bully just landed a ten year old on his butt in the schoolyard. Jackman did not say much when he got back on his feet.
Nick Backstrom scored the empty netter to ice the game and give the Capitals the season sweep of the Islanders 4-0-0. He also had an assist which gets him to the 60 assist mark.
The Islanders proved to be a tough team to beat as they played a gritty tough road game. They may have taken the lead back in the third after Green tied it, but Jackman drove the net and pushed Jose Theodore in, then the puck followed soon after. The goal was disallowed, Jackman was called for the interference and Mike Green makes history just :12 seconds later. It was almost like it was gift wrapped.
The Caps do get some relief in secondary scoring as Keith Aucoin scores his first goal as a Capital. But they have to play more responsible in their own end. There were stretches where the Caps forecheck was monster. After the Caps had taken the lead, the top line of Fedorov, Ovechkin and Viktor Kozlov kept the Islanders pinned in their own zone for well over a minute. That domination needs to have a goal attached to the end of it, but the Caps came up empty handed.
Now there are only 5 games left, two home games and 3 road games. Buffalo is next on Friday. They are a desperate team as they lost tonight to Atlanta and they may have lost their chance at a playoff spot as well. The Caps will be facing a tough task of keeping the Sabres out of contention in what should be a heated playoff atmosphere game.