The game got off to an eventful start, and not in a good way for the Caps. Just 30 seconds into the game, Ilya Samsonov was trying to move the puck around the boards from behind his own net when T.J.Oshie, coming from the direction that Samsonov was shooting the puck, collided with him, sending Samsonov to the ice. After a consult with the trainer, Samsonov was taken out, Vitek Vanecek going in as relief.
And just 31 seconds after that delay, the Caps had a lead. It was a play made possible by the hustle of Conor Sheary, who flagged down a air mail pass from Nicklas Backstrom, kept the puck in the offensive zone when challenged by defenseman Scott Mayfield and fought off two defenders to feed it to Tom Wilson, who found John Carlson steaming down the middle for a one-timer from the top of the circles to beat a stunned goalie Semyon Varlamov to open the scoring at the 1:01 mark.
New York tied the game at the 5:02 mark when an uncovered Jordan Eberle took a feed from Leo Komarov in the right wing circle and snapped a shot past Vanecek on the short side to make it a 1-1 game.
Late in the period, the Isles took their first lead of the game when Mathew Barzal threaded his way between Zdeno Chara and Brenden Dillion, firing a shot from the edge of the right wing circle past Vanecek to make it 2-1, 16:09 into the period. That ended Vanecek’s tour in goal; Samsonov back in.
New York made it 3-1 off a pair of Caps turnovers on the same play. Dmitry Orlov tried to settle an uncooperative puck to skate it around the back of the net, but lost it off his stick. Anthony Beauvillier collected it below the goal line and sent it out front, but onto the stick of Caps defenseman Justin Schultz. Schultz tried to shoot it into the corner and out of danger, but he managed only to put it on the stick of Brock Nelson who took the gift and scored through Samsonov’s pads at the 17:32 mark.
Daniel Sprong responded on a play that usually features Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Taking a faceoff in the left wing circle, Lars Eller won it to Sprong, who adjusted his position to find a shooting lane and fired a shot that Varlamov barely flinched at as it went by at the 17:54 mark.
Barzal got his second of the game when Eberle collected a rebound of a Mayfield shot and slid it across to Barzal at the bottom of the left wig circle. He spun and whipped a shot past Samsonov at 18:53 to make it 4-2, the lead the Isles took to the locker room at the first intermission.
-- Two goals in the first 16:09 of the period, four goals in the last 3:51.
-- New York outshot the Caps, 13-7, in the period and out-attempted them, 19-18.
-- Daniel Sprong was the only Capital with more than one shot on goal (two); four Caps had two shot attempts.
New York appeared to put this one away barely three minutes into the middle frame whe n Casey Cizikas dug out a loose puck at the side of the net to Samsonov’s left and popped it past him inside the post to make it 5-2, 3:03 into the period.
Washington got a power play 5:59 into the period, too many Islanders in the water. They converted 48 seconds later when T.J. Oshie took a rebound of an Ovechkin shot off his shin, redirecting it past Varlamov to make it a 5-3 game 6:47 into the period.
There would be no momentum from the power play goal, though. New York restored their three-goal lead just 1:21 later when Eberle got his second goal of the game, finishing a 2-on-2 break with Barzal, one-timing from the left wing circle Barzal’s pass past Samsonov at the 8:08 mark.
Carlson got his second into the game to get the Caps back within two goals. It was a three-man passing game – Sprong from the top of the left wing circle cross-ice to Jakub Vrana in the left wing circle, to Carlson at the side of the net to the right of Varlamov for the tap-in with 58.9 seconds left in the period to close the scoring in the second period, Isles up, 6-4.
-- New York outshot the Caps, 9-7, in the period; the teams had 14 shot attempts apiece.
-- T.J. Oshie led in shots for the game through 40 minutes with three, two off his stick and one off his shin for a goal.
-- Zdeno Chara was credited with five hits to lead the Caps through two periods.
-- Washington was not credited with a takeaway over the first two periods.
New York scored 3:13 into the period, collecting a loose puck that squirted off the stick of Nicklas Backstrom and fired it into the open side of the net past Samsonov to make it 7-4, Islanders.
The Isles got a power play chance when Backstrom went to the penalty box for high-sticking at 8:26. New York did not convert, but they got another chance at the 14:59 mark when T.J. Oshie went off for hooking. Barzal converted the chance to complete his hat trick, swatting a puck out of the air and into the back of the net at the 18:54 mark to make it 8-4, and that would be how the game ended.
-- John Carlson’s two goals gave him seven multi-goal games in his career, tying Scott Stevens for fifth most in Caps history among defensemen.
-- The two goals gave Carlson 114 goals for his career, jumping over Calle Johansson and Mike Green into third place on the all-time Caps goal scoring list among defensemen (Srgei Gonchar: 144; Kevin Hatcher: 148).
-- Daniel Sprong had a goal and an assist, his second multi-point game this season and second in five games (0-2-2 vs. New Jersey on March 25th).
-- With the loss, the Caps fell into a three-way tie with the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins at the top of the East Division. The Caps remain in first place on a tie-breaker (fewer games/higher points percentage).
-- The teams combined for 12 goals. The last time they did so was in a 7-5 Islanders win on January 24, 1986. Only four times in the 226-game history between these teams did they combine for more:
- October 8, 1983 (15): NYI 8 – Caps 7
- February 2, 1982 (13): NYI 7 – Caps 6
- January 1, 1992 (13): Caps 8 – NYI 5
- November 23, 1988 (13): Caps 7 – NYI 6
-- New York outshot the Caps, 33-22; the teams has 47 shot attempts apiece.
-- Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie led the Caps with four shots apiece; Wilson, Carlson, and T.J. Oshie led the team with five shot attempts apiece.
-- Zdeno Chara led the team with six credited hits.
-- The eight goals allowed were a season worst for the Caps. They allowed the Philadelphia Flyers seven goals in a 7-4 loss on Valentine’s Day.
-- Ilya Samsonov’s .750 save percentage (18 saves on 24 shots) was his worst of the season and tied for the worst of his brief career to date. One of those games was last season against the Islanders, when he stopped 15 of 20 shots in a 5-3 loss on February 10, 2020; the other against the Boston Bruins (three saves on four shots) in a 7-3 loss on December 23, 2019.
In the end…
This game, it did