New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano said his goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov was “one of the reasons” the Washington Capitals hadn’t scored much of the night on Tuesday. He cited missed opportunities, and some players in the home locker room agreed.
“You do get frustrated. At the end of the first period it’s 13-3 and we’re down 1-0 – 13-3 in shots,” forward Brooks Laich said. “There were shots, we had chances, we felt like we played the majority of the game in their end.”
Added Matt Hendricks: “We could’ve had 20 shots [in the first] if we would’ve taken all of our opportunities and put them on net. I think we had more chances to shoot than we showed. I think we missed the net sometimes when we had good traffic in front and a good opportunity.”
But when the Caps did get chances, there was Nabokov turning aside shot after shot. He finished with 31 saves, including some remarkable ones.
They cracked him in the final minutes of regulation as part of a stirring, 3-2 comeback overtime win. But before that this looked a lot like a Jaroslav Halak situation, with a hot goalie standing in the way of a valuable victory.
“Their goalie was putting together a good game,” coach Dale Hunter said. “You’ve got to give the goalie credit; he was having one of them games where you could see that it was going to take a special play to get a goal on him.”
Special plays happened late as Troy Brouwer snapped his 14-game goal drought by scoring twice.
“Nabokov played really well tonight,” Brouwer said. “I thought he made a lot of great saves. But we just kept coming at them and we capped it off in pretty dramatic style.”