Streak Stopper – Washington led twice in Friday’s game but it could not put away the plucky New York Islanders. The Isles came from behind twice and won a 4-3 decision from the Capitals on Mark Streit’s one-timer at the 53-second mark of overtime.
The loss ended the Capitals’ winning streak at six games, but Washington has collected a point in each of its last eight games (6-0-2).
When the two clubs met last Saturday night in New York, Washington needed a third-period rally and an overtime goal from Brooks Laich to come back from a two-goal deficit and escape with a 3-2 win. The Isles outworked the Caps in that game. Washington’s effort was better on Friday at Verizon Center, but the result was not.
“They work hard, there’s no question,” says Caps center Brendan Morrison. “We knew that coming in. Our work ethic was there tonight for the most part – maybe we didn’t work so smart at times. Our special teams did a good job tonight; [we had a] couple power-play goals. When we do that, we usually come out on top.
“They hung around, and coming off a big win against New York [Rangers], we knew that. We just didn’t put them away when we had the chance.”
The Caps finish October with an impressive 8-2-3 mark. They’ve led at one point or another in all 13 of their games, but their lack of a killer instinct in games and the difficulty they’ve had protecting late leads has prevented them from posting an even gaudier mark to date.
“A lot of these games we’ve escaped,” says Morrison. “We haven’t played our best hockey. I think what we have to worry about is more the process – how we’re winning games. Don’t think about the result; think about the process. If we go about that the right way, we’ll come out on top most nights.”
Washington finished October getting 19 of a possible 26 points for a .731 points pct. Only the 1991-92 Caps had a better month of October, posting a 9-3 record for a .750 points pct.
Green Run –Mike Green picked up a pair of assists on the night, running his scoring streak to eight straight games (two goals, eight assists). That spree is the longest for any NHL defenseman this season and the second-longest by any player in the league. Only Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis (10 games) has recorded a point in more consecutive games than has Green.
With 12 points on the season, Green has moved into a tie for third place among all NHL defensemen in scoring. He is just one point off the lead in the blueliner scoring race.
Out-Evened – Washington came into Friday night’s game with 33 even-strength goals, the most in the NHL. New York came in with just 15, the third fewest in the league. All four of New York’s goals on the night came at even strength while just one of Washington’s came while the two teams had the same number of skaters.
Helping Out –Nicklas Backstrom’s second period assist on Tomas Fleischmann’s goal was his 80th helper since the start of last season. Over the same period of time, only Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (88) has more.
Fourteen for Eight – Alex Ovechkin netted his 14th goal of the season tonight, adding to his league lead. With 14 goals in the month of October, Ovechkin has matched his single-month career best, previously established when he potted 14 goals in March, 2008.
Ovi’s goal tonight was the game’s first goal; he leads the league in that department with four. He also leads the league with seven lead-changing goals, five go-ahead goals, 11 even-strength goals and 15 even-strength points.
Theo Thwarted – Entering Friday’s game, Caps goaltender Jose Theodore had a 1.90 lifetime goals against average against the Islanders, tops among all active goaltenders. In giving up four tallies in 61 minutes to the Isles, he slipped to a still impressive 1.98 lifetime against the Fishermen. But that drops him behind Boston’s Tim Thomas (1.91), the Isles’ own Martin Biron (1.93), and Florida’s Tomas Vokoun (1.97) for fourth place among active netminders against the Islanders.
Keeping it Even – New York’s foes have had their way with the Isles when trailing after one period this season, going 2-0-1 in the young campaign. They’ve also gotten the better of the Fishermen when the Isles lead after two, going 3-1-1. But the Isles did not hold the lead at the end of any period on Friday. Maybe that’s the idea.
Shut Down Time – Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson entered Friday’s game with a 5.40 third-period goals against average this season. He stopped all 17 Washington shots he faced in the final frame tonight, with some sparking saves sprinkled among them.
This Day in NHL History – Enigmatic ex-Caps winger Joe Murphy notched the first goal of his nomadic NHL career on this date in 1987, scoring for the Detroit Red Wings against the Montreal Canadiens. Murphy scored the last six of his 233 career NHL goals in a Capitals uniform.
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke also scored his first NHL goal on this date in 1969, scoring for the Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Rangers.
Happy Birthday – To ex-Caps forward Pat Elynuik, born on this date in 1967.
Down On The Farm – The Hershey Bears started off the weekend with a bus trip to Connecticut where they faced the Hartford Wolf Pack. It was a good night for the visitors, who skated off with a 6-0 whitewash victory.
Andrew Joudrey scored a shorthanded goal midway through the first period – his second goal of the season – to put the Bears out in front first. Just over two minutes later, Francois Bouchard scored his fourth of the season to give Hershey a 2-0 lead. In the final minute of the first, Alexandre Giroux potted his sixth of the campaign to push the Bears’ advantage to 3-0.
The Bears kept pouring it on in the middle frame. Boyd Kane notched his second of the season at 3:35, and Mathieu Perreault followed with his first of the season at 9:30. Perreault’s goal gave the Bears a total of five goals in a span of exactly 20 minutes.
Starting his second consecutive game between the pipes for the Bears, Jason Bacashihua recorded his first shutout for Hershey, making 26 stops on the night. The shutout was Bacashihua’s 15th of his AHL career. He has now recorded whitewashes for five different AHL franchises: Utah, Worcester, Peoria, Lake Erie and Hershey.
Giroux finished the night with two goals, four points and a plus-4. Bouchard had a goal and four points and was plus-4. Perreault was also plus-4, and defenseman Karl Alzner was plus-3 with an assist.
Down a level, the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays were also on the road Friday night. The Rays were in Florida to take on the Everblades. With Todd Ford in goal for the Stingrays, South Carolina fell behind by a goal midway through the first. But the Rays’ Matt Fornataro even it up just over two minutes later. Gregg Johnson staked South Carolina to a 2-1 lead halfway through the middle frame.
Florida evened it at 2-2 early in the third, but South Carolina’s Trent Campbell restored the Stingrays’ lead with a goal at 6:09 of the third period. Ford stopped 10 of 11 shots in the third and made 33 saves on the night to record the win.
With the victory, South Carolina moves to 2-2-1-1 on the season. The Stingrays are third in the South Division. Just a point behind Florida and Gwinnett.
South Carolina faces the Everblades in Florida again on Saturday night.
In Grand Rapids, Caps center Michael Nylander scored a goal and was plus-1 as the Grifins defeated the Houston Aeros 3-1 on Friday. The goal was the first of Nylander’s regular season AHL career. He now has a goal and 14 assists in nine regular season AHL games. Nylander has a goal and six points in five games during his current conditioning assignment with the Griffins.
By The Numbers – Backstrom was charged with three first-period giveaways … Washington fired nine shots on goal in the first, but it had eight more attempts blocked and it missed the net on five other shot tries in the first … Milan Jurcina paced the Caps with five hits on the night … Washington was charged with 18 giveaways to the Islanders’ nine on Friday night. Only one giveaway led directly to a New York goal, but several of the others quelled Capitals scoring chances.