HOW IT HAPPENED
The Islanders were limited to only 18 shots on goal and were beaten 5-1 by the Washington Capitals at UBS Arena on Saturday night. Darcy Kuemper wasn't tested much but made 17 saves in the win. Dylan Strome and T.J. Oshie had first-period goals for the Caps (32-28-7), who led 2-1 after the first period. The game remained that was until Anthony Mantha scored 4:15 into the third period, seconds after a power play expired. Nic Dowd and Nicklas Backstrom then scored 1:01 part to pull away. Pierre Engvall score his first goal as an Islander to open the scoring, and Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves in the loss for the Islanders (34-26-8).
WHAT WENT RIGHT
After sitting long stretches of each of the last two teams due to his lack of familiarity with the team's structure, Pierre Engvall started on a line centered by Josh Bailey and was joined by Cal Clutterbuck, activated off IR and playing in his first game since Jan. 19. Engvall scored his first goal as an Islander in the first period when his centering pass was deflected in by the Caps defender.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Penalties and power plays. The Islanders were 0-for-5 on the power play, struggling to get the puck on net, which was an issue in all situations on Saturday night. They had 39 shot attempts but only 18 shots on goal, tied for their lowest number this season. "I don't think we got to the net really good enough," Head Coach Lane Lambert said. "We had 39 shot attempts that were blocked or missed, plus I thought we passed up a few chances."
The team had ample opportunities to tie the game after trailing 2-1 after the first period, but it took soft, unnecessary penalties in the second and third periods that prevented them from getting into a rhythm 5-on-5. And although they killed all four Washington power plays, the Caps scored just seconds after Casey Cizikas came out of the box to make it a 3-1 game.
"We took a couple of penalties in the middle frame when we were trying to come back from a one-goal lead," Matt Martin said. "Even though we killed them off, it kills the momentum. We were just a little off tonight for whatever reason."
STATS OF THE GAME
Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Matt Martin played in his 752nd game for the Islanders, tying Mike Bossy for 7th place. Casey Cizikas saw his three-game assist streak end and Cal Clutterbuck returned for the first time since January 19th.
It was only the second time all season that the Isles lost by four or more goals at home and the first time ever at UBS Arena. The last time the Isles lost by at least four goals at home was on March 3, 2020, to Montreal (6-2), in the final game ever played at Barclays Center.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
AEW champion and Long Island native MJF was in attendance on Saturday night and stayed in character (or acted the way he really is) with in-game host Syke.
The Islanders head out on a west coast road trip, starting with a game with the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Face-off is set for 10:30 PM ET.