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Posted at 11:55 PM ET, 01/17/2012

Capitals shut out for first time this season, by New York Islanders

A 3-0 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders was not the way the Capitals likely intended to close out their four-game homestand and leave as the lasting memory as they embark on a three-game road trip.

But a lackluster, flat showing against the Islanders provided a reminder that although Washington has won seven of its past 10, it’s been far from a perfect stretch.

The Capitals were outshot (28-17) for the 12th time in the past 15 games and their combined shot differential in the past four games is minus-51. In addition to the struggle to find the offensive pulse, Washington’s play in its own end lacked polish. The Islanders benefited from plenty of odd-man rushes and created scoring chances off of sloppy turnovers.

“Just mistakes. And it’s costing us. They’re mistakes, people are getting beat — and the video don’t lie who gets beat or not,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “They’ll know their mistakes and giveaways. Two power-play goals where we didn’t get back to the net…We gave them the goals.”

To a man, the players who spoke with reporters after the game admitted
New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen pushes away Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Semin as he reaches for he puck during the third period. (Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post)
that it was a flat performance and none were all that able to pinpoint why they never managed to gain energy and momentum against the Islanders.

“I wish I could tell you,” Karl Alzner said when asked why there was no energy. “I would have liked to have changed it as soon as I noticed it. Last game I thought we were making a lot of good plays and we had a lot of good flow. We couldn’t make those plays tonight and when we had to get pucks off the glass and out or we were turning pucks over, it just kind of killed us. We didn’t get ourselves out of it. I think that was the main thing.”

Washington has a chance to bounce back immediately with a game in Montreal on Wednesday, but this is a setback, in addition to being the first time this season that its been shut out. It was also the first time the Capitals have been shut out at home since Feb. 25, 2011, when they lost 6-0 to the Rangers.

“I think for ourselves it’s taking away the little mistakes that we make they seem to be just costing us goals,” Joel Ward said. “In our own building, to get shut out like that is a tough one for sure.”

By  |  11:55 PM ET, 01/17/2012

 
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