The New York Islanders booked their ticket to the second round with a 4-0 win over the Washington Capitals.
Game 4 was a tough test by a desperate Washington Capitals team and the New York Islanders couldn’t stand up to the challenge. To end their first-round series in five games, the Isles needed to rise to the occasion and play their game regardless of what the Caps were up to.
The New York Islanders made two changes to their lineup for Game 5. Michael Dal Colle stepped in for Derick Brassard and Ross Johnston was in for Cal Clutterbuck who had to exit Game 4 early following a Radko Gudas hip check.
The idea wasn’t to totally change the way the Islanders play. After all, they’ve had two bad periods this entire series. Both were in Game 4. Johnston came in to give some muscle and police the ice a bit. Dal Colle came in to be a solid two-way guy and give that third line a bit more energy.
Beau Knows Goals
The first period couldn’t have gone any better for the New York Islanders. They held it together through the opening half and quickly found themselves on the power play. A power play that was 1-for-19 in the series mind you.
Expectations were obviously low that the Islanders could convert, but after a nice east-west pass by Anthony Beauvillier to get things going, the puck eventually found its way back to the French-Canadian who popped it into an empty net.
The Isles desperately needed that power-play goal. Not only to break that dreadful 1-for-19 streak but to also make the Caps think twice about pulling any shenanigans on the ice.
Unlike in Game 4, the Islanders didn’t let up. Sure, they didn’t win the Corsi battle in Game 5 as they did through Games 1 and 2, but the Isles are used to letting their opponents control the puck. They knew they’d get their opportunities and convert.
In the second period,
unlocked the Capitals defense with a great zone entry and then an even better pass to find Anthony Beauvillier streaking in behind the defense.
Josh Bailey has always been an underappreciated player for the Isles. But with that helper on Beauvillier’s second goal, Josh Bailey now has eight helpers in the playoffs. Only Sebastian Aho and Nathan MacKinnon have more with nine (Aho’s Hurricanes have been eliminated).
Bailey has been a key player for the Islanders since the start of the postseason. His ability to play on and off the puck, to find opportunities in the offensive zone, and just be an all-around asset is why #BailELITE is being shared around the fanbase when talking about number 12.
From there the Islanders just managed the game like their coach would have wanted them too. Beauvillier took one penalty, a hooking call against Hagelin later in the second (that he apologized for), and then stayed out of the box altogether.
It wasn’t pretty at times. The Capitals had the run of play and dictated the tempo for much of the third period, but the Islanders held firm and were rewarded with two empty-net goals, one from Nick Leddy and another for Josh BailELITE.
On to the Next One
For the second time in two years, the New York Islanders are onto the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Who they play is still undetermined. If Montreal eliminates Philly the Islanders will face Boston. Otherwise, they’ll face the Philadelphia Flyers.
Anthony Beauvillier: 2G
Semyon Varlamov: 21 saves, 1.00SV%
Josh Bailey: 1G, 2A
Alex Ovechkin: -3
Braden Holtby: 13 saves, 0.867SV%
Tom Wilson: (No explanation required)