Wednesday, October 13, 2010 10:36 p.m.
By Joe Beninati
Nicklas Backstrom wasnt overly concerned about not scoring a point in the two games prior to tonight because his team recorded victories in both games. This evening the Swedes well-positioned skate boot helped to provide the winning margin over a pesky group of New York Islanders.
Late in regulation, with his team working on what had been an anemic power play, Alex Ovechkin uncorked a slapshot that struck Backstroms skate and redirected perfectly past a stunned Dwayne Roloson with just 3:29 left in the contest. The Islanders always plays the Caps tough, and tonight was no exception. Bruce Boudreau credits their team structure and their work ethic, one he says equals any other clubs in the league, for making them a difficult opponent.
There werent many great scoring opportunities in the first period, save for the one that was converted by Nino Niederreiter before the game was four minutes old. At age 18 and 1 month, the youngest Islander ever stashed a quick centering pass from Doug Weight underneath Michal Neuvirth to give the Islanders the lead.
The second period was a much better one for Washington. They carried the play for those 20 minutes and finally knotted the score with a patented wrist shot from the great 8. Ovechkin has an uncanny knack of shooting through defenders legs to catch enemy goalies off-guard. Hes one of the best I have ever seen at doing that. During the telecast Craig Laughlin remembered that was a specialty of former Islander great, Hall of Famer Mike Bossy. Its a great comparison for two of the sports most feared sharpshooters.
This was a physical contest right off the hop. D.J. King wasted no time dropping the mitts in the first period against Trevor Gillies and the Islander winger hung in there with the heavyweight and may have landed the best punch in the bout. There were bone-jarring collisions throughout the game, many of which involved Washington defender Mike Green, who finished the game in the dressing room. Stay tuned to CSN for updates on the high-scoring defenseman, who appeared to be favoring his shoulder on the way down the Caps dressing room tunnel.
Young goalie Michal Neuvirth made his best and biggest save on Islanders top goal scorer Matt Moulson late in the third period. Moulson was sent in on a breakway but a bouncing puck foiled him as well as Neuvirths cat-like quickness.
Amazingly eight of the last 11 meetings with the Islanders have been decided by one goal. And a whole bunch of them required overtime or a shootout to settle. All that was avoided tonight when Nicklas got a lucky one with the foot wedge.
Next up, a couple days of rest before a trip to see the Nashville Predators Saturday night. Al and Craig will keep you company for that one while I finish up with college football. Enjoy the show!