New York Islanders drop Game 4 by a scored of 3-2 after being forced off their game by a veteran Washington Capitals team.
Rise to the occasion. We always hear that winning the fourth game of a best-of-seven series is the hardest one to get. As the New York Islanders took to the ice for Game 4 with a 3-0 series lead in their best-of-seven series against the Washington Capitals they knew what to expect.
The Caps would come at them hard and give them everything they got to keep their playoff hopes alive at least another few days. The Islanders needed to rise to the occasion and meet the challenge. They couldn’t.
They Had It
Islanders had to come out and match the intensity the Capitals were going to bring. With their playoff lives on the line, the Capitals were going to come at the Isles hard. The Islanders needed to get on the board first and manage out the rest of the game.
Getting on the board first doesn’t guarantee a win for the Isles, but it should have gone a long way, psychologically, to getting there. Leave it to Jean-Gabriel Pageau to put the Islanders in the driver’s seat in Game 4.
Pageau has been worth every penny so far in his short career with the New York Islanders.
Just a few shorts minutes later Mathew Barzal tightened the screws on the Washington Capitals after he made it 2-0 with a nice flick that got the best of Braden Holtby.
With how the Islanders played in the series leading up to Game 4 it looked like they were going to coast to a win and their second first-round sweep in two-years.
But Washington has been there before. They know what you can and can’t get away with during the playoffs. And they put it on full display as they clawed their way back to a level score with the Islanders.
First, it was Evgeny Kuznetsov who just walked around Adam Pelech and slid the puck five-hole on Semyon Varlamov who was otherwise excellent in the game. Then, after Mathew Barzal took his second holding penalty of the night, Alex Ovechkin tied it with a trademark one-timer.
The Capitals were doing their best to wear down the Islanders with their above and below board physicality. And it was working.
Mathew Barzal was clearly off his game with the extra attention he was receiving. Nick Jensen got away with a few jabs at Derick Brassard after the whistle. Tom Wilson was doing Tom Wilson things. First, a cheap boarding hit on Scott Mayfield and then an elbow to Adam Pelech’s fact. At least Wilson was penalized for boarding Scott Mayfield.
Under any normal circumstances, a power play is supposed to be an advantage. But for the Islanders, in this series, it’s been anything but.
Leading up to Game 4, the Isles were 1-for-14 on the man advantage. Through another 60, that went to 1-for-19 or 5.3 percent efficiency. Disgusting. That needs to remedy itself going forward.
The Islanders were well off their game and the Capitals were, for the first time in the series, able to get the best of the Islanders to extend their time in the bubble for at least another few days.
Alex Ovechkin: 2G, 4SOG
Evgeny Kuznetsov: 1G,1A, 4SOG
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: 1G, 5SOG
Mathew Barzal: 1G, 4PIM