Recap: Capitals Beat up on the Islanders

By Corwin McCallum
Jan 7, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) hits New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic (3) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) hits New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic (3) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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On Thursday night, the New York Islanders lost 4-1 to the Metropolitan-leading Washington Capitals in predictable fashion.

The Capitals out-possessed them, Ovechkin scored to put the Caps ahead, Jaroslav Halak looked rusty in his first game back and overall, the Islanders were just out matched by the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Related Story: Halak to Return on Thursday Night

Despite entering the night in second place in the Metro division, the gap between them and the Capitals is the same as the difference between second and second last. As they have been throughout the season, the Capitals were the superior team against the Islanders.

There’s no shame in losing to a team as good as the Capitals, but it should represent a measuring point for what the Islanders are failing to achieve. Going into the break the Islanders felt good about their play, but in comparison to last season, they shouldn’t. Despite their place in the standings, they aren’t playing the quality of hockey that we expect from a Stanley Cup contender. The team sits outside the top 10 in score-adjusted Corsi (15th) and expected goals (21st as of Jan 6) and they’re 10th in goal differential.

At first glance, the main difference between this season and last for the Isles is the absence of elite results from their top players.

John Tavares, Nick Leddy, Josh Bailey and many other Islanders have seen significant drops in their even-strength scoring rates and virtually every player outside of Frans Nielson has seen a drop in their possession numbers.

Next: Johnny Boychuk Out 4-6 Weeks

With the success they had last season, it’s easy to want to wait for them to figure it out. However, after a half season of the same problems, we’re going to start looking into differences between systems and style of play from last season to this one.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis on what may be troubling the Isles.

(Stats courtesy of puckon.net and @DTMaboutheart)

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