Mistake destroys Capitals’ momentum in loss to Islanders

Adam Oates’ team erases two-goal deficit but comes away with no points.

Adam Oates knew it could be a problem. The Washington Capitals were playing their only home game sandwiched between seven on the road, against a New York Islanders team that can be easy to overlook.

So when the Caps fell behind two goals in the first eight minutes, it was not much of a surprise. But when they erased the deficit in the second, the flat start became nothing but a memory.

“When we had the momentum, I thought that there was no way we were going to lose the game,” defenseman John Carlson said.

They did. Even after overcoming some expected obstacles, one third-period mistake led to a 3-2 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday night at Verizon Center. The Caps fell to seven points back of the Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg Jets and four points back of the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It stings. Every game at this point stings,” defenseman Steve Oleksy said. “You’re playing playoff hockey, and that’s a big two points for us. That’s a team that’s close to us and that’s a game we need to try to pull away from some of these teams.”

Instead, the Caps are 11th in the East, leap-frogged by the Islanders. They failed to keep pace with the Jets and Rangers, who won Tuesday night, and they had Brooks Laich and Mike Green to blame.

With just over five minutes left in the third period and the score tied, Laich was nearing the end of a shift and sent the puck behind the net to Green, who turned it over when pressed by Islanders forward Matt Moulson. Seconds later, the puck was on John Tavares’ stick and then in the net.

“Not a good interchange between Brooksie and Greenie,” Oates said. “A play that I’m sure those two guys would like back.”

Green was not made available to reporters who requested him after the loss. Laich took responsibility.

“I didn’t want to turn one over in the middle in front of our net, so I sent it behind the net,” Laich said. “Bad angle, bad decision by myself. I put Mike in trouble, and it resulted in the winning goal.”

It was a play that could go right 95 times out of 100. When it went wrong Tuesday night after Green fumbled the puck in his skates trying to make a move instead of rimming it around, it proved costly.

“Everybody gonna do mistakes. It’s hockey,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “Somebody make mistakes, somebody have to cover. It was a bad turnover, but everybody can be in that kind of position.”

Ovechkin and other teammates didn’t want to throw Laich and Green under the bus. They know next time it could be them.

But against the Islanders, Green and Laich couldn’t get the job done to help the Caps salvage even one point.

“Most of the goals will be details that cost you goals,” center Mike Ribeiro said. “We come back, misplayed puck and then next thing you know it’s behind the net. You cannot judge the game on that play. I think it’s a 60-minute game and there’s other plays in the game that we could’ve done better.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • **FILE** In this April 23, 2013 photo, Cuba's former pitcher Conrado Marrero, the world's oldest living former major league baseball player, holds up a baseball with his signature at his home, two days before is 102nd birthday, as he holds an unlit cigar in his mouth in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

    Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday

  • Washington Wizards guard John Wall, left, and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards' 101-99 win as Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich walks off the court after missing two free throws during the overtime period of Game 2 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they’re no illusion

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watches Baylor and Central Florida play during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

    Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race

  • Washington Wizards forward Nene, left, guards Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Chicago, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Early returns show projections of physical Wizards-Bulls series were correct

  • Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after catching a 25 yard touchdown in the first quarter as the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles in Monday Night NFL football at FedExField, Landover, Md., Monday, September 9, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Dan Snyder: DeSean Jackson ‘really a good guy’

  • Celebrities In The News
  • ** FILE ** In this March 19, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

  • FILE - This Jan. 8, 2014 file photo shows singer Chris Brown, right, arriving at the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington. After a brief postponement, singer Chris Brown's trial on an assault charge is scheduled to begin in Washington. Brown's trial had been set for Monday but was delayed while lawyers tried to work out whether his bodyguard will testify. It's unclear whether the trial will start Wednesday, as Brown's lawyers seem to want, or if further legal maneuvering will delay it.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    Chris Brown assault trial delayed again

  • Justin Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial