Afternoon games have a weird effect on players. Starting that early throws everyone off their regular schedule. It's not a good excuse to have for professional athletes, but that's exactly what seemed to happen with the New York Islanders.
The Isles were sleepwalking through much of this game. From the opening draw to the final whistle the home team looked like they were, at least mentally, still in the dressing room.
And look, the Capitals didn't walk all over the Islanders in this one. The Caps weren't particularly good. They scored two goals (one on an empty net) and generated very little throughout the game. It's just that the home team was the worse. By a healthy margin.
New York Islanders sleeps through loss to Capitals
The first goal scored on the day, unfortunately at the hands of Capitals Tom Wilson, was scored after some sloppy play in the Isles D-zone with three players in blue and orange missing Wilson who was alone in the slot. Salo, Barzal, and Bailey all covered the puck carrier and totally forgot about Wilson.
And while the Islanders generally fixed that defensive sloppiness through the rest of the game, they did not fix the same sloppiness in the offensive zone. With only 16 shots through the final two periods, they didn't generate much to get themselves back into the game.
The Islanders best chance was in the third period when the puck breaks to Josh Bailey on the right side of the goal with a wide-open cage. Bailey, not known for his shoot-first mentality, sticks to his typecast and elects to pass the puck into a crowded slot. With devastatingly frustrating results.
The puck was probably too far behind Bailey for a one-timer and Vanecek got to the post pretty quick, but to not even test the goalie here is incredibly frustrating. Specifically in a 1-0 game. Again, Josh isn't known as a shoot-first player, but he must do better here.
The second goal by the Caps was an empty-netter by Alex Ovechkin. Because of course Ovechkin scored.
No Streak for You
With the loss, the Isles snap a three-game winning streak and a five-game point streak. With where the Islanders are in the standings they can't afford to take regulation losses.
Of course, regulation losses are going to happen but you'd hope the Islanders have a better effort in a loss than what happened today. Outside of perhaps Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, and Semyon Varlamov, the Islanders just looked disinterested. I know they weren't actually disinterested, but this veteran lead team seemed to coast out there and it cost them today, and will likely down the road too.