As Alex Ovechkin put plainly after the Islanders beat Washington, 5-3, Saturday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Capitals “stopped playing” after the first period.
There were turnovers aplenty, inability to get pucks deep and lapses in the defensive zone that left New York players unguarded in front. But it wasn’t goaltender Tomas Vokoun’s night, either, and the veteran goaltender agreed.
“The first two and the fourth one, you can’t win when your goalie gives up three bad goals,” Vokoun said. “As much as we play hard, tough on back-to-back nights, I didn’t help the guys much, obviously.”
The first two Islanders goals both beat Vokoun five-hole. Frans Nielsen grabbed his own rebound and found an opening from short range and late in the second, Brian Rolston took what seemed like an innocuous point shot that also slipped between the 35-year-old’s pads.
On the fourth goal – the game winner – a point shot by former Capital Milan Jurcina squeaked through Vokoun’s legs enough for P.A. Parenteau, who was never picked up by the Capitals’ defense, to knock the puck into the net. That score possessed some of the same qualities as Matt Martin’s goal, which put the Islanders up 3-2, when the Capitals weren’t able to mark members of the opposition in front.
Vokoun finished the night with 30 saves, including a few nice stops, but those didn’t give him much solace.
“I felt pretty good at the start,” Vokoun said. “The first one I kind of relaxed a little too much. I thought he wouldn’t be able to get through. The second one he hit right, the exact spot — just a small hole in between your legs and when the puck hits it exactly it goes through, and the fourth one was just a bad goal. I should have covered that puck or put the rebound in the corner or something. I can’t say anything more. I let the team down today.”