Washington’s win over the Islanders last night was definitely not one of their best from the last few years. If it was not for a soft goal let in by Dwayne Roloson and a Nick Backstrom power play redirection, we all could be talking about a very different game today.
Here are some thoughts about the team’s performance:
- Lazy was the word of the night. There was an apparent lack of interest in the game from many of the players. Caps players took lazy penalties, made poor passes and took shots that had little chance of making it to the net. Washington escaped with a gift, as the Islanders outplayed them most of the night. It was clear the players knew they did not play well too, as few came out to address the media afterwards.
- The Islanders certainly could have capitalized on their shots more if John Tavares and Marc Streit had been in the lineup. Fortunately for the Caps, they were not, and the team did not have to keep track of any real scoring threats.
- I bet no one thought the Caps’ penalty kill would be better than their power play. Through four games Washington is a pristine 15-15 on the penalty kill, including a 3-3 night against the Isles. Meanwhile, they are an abysmal 2-17 on the power play this season.
- Semyon Varlamov appears to be ready to start, but should he? Michal Neuvirth (my pick for the team’s best goalie) has been nothing but solid in net. His performance included a clutch save on a Matt Moulson breakaway in the third period. The save on Moulson was just one of many by Neuvy, as the young netminder was hung out to dry by his defense much of the night. In my opinion, Neuvy has earned the role of starter for a while.
- Speaking of defense, the Caps did not look interested in playing much of it. John Carlson stuck out as one of the d-men who struggled the most. He may have added to his point streak tonight, but head coach Bruce Boudreau said there are other aspects to the game than just scoring. Captain America over-skated puck and was caught out of position several times. None of this is unexpected, as he is just a rookie.
- Many in the press box were questioning the decision to dress D.J. King. He does not skate particularly well, New York is not a team known for fighting this season and after a slew of poor performances, excluding the New Jersey game, one would think a coach would want to put out his best players. Sure, King fought, but he really did not add all that much to the game. With only 4:43 of ice time, its hard to believe there was not another player who could have contributed more.
- Next up for the Caps are the Nashville Predators. Nashville has been stingy when it has come to giving up goals, only surrendering three goals in the first two games. One thing in Washington’s favor is that Predators starting goalie Pekka Rinne missed the last game due to injury. The Caps will most likely be facing rookie Anders Lindback, as good a gift they will likely receive in the early stages of the season.