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Islanders inching closer to playoff berth after shootout win over Capitals

March 30, 2023, 11:08 PM ET [174 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The New York Islanders picked up their second win in a row last night, defeating the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a shootout.

The game began with an incredibly slow first period, where only 10 shots were exchanged. However, Pierre Engvall managed to open the scoring early in the second frame, taking a pass from Brock Nelson on a rush and squeaking a puck through Darcy Kuemper. It didn’t last long though, as Conor Sheary got a puck in the slot minutes later and backhanded it past Sorokin to tie the game.

New York really took over in the first half of the third period though, outshooting Washington 10-0 through the first 11 minutes or so. Even if they didn’t get a ton of chances within that stretch, it was probably the first time all game where one team was really building momentum. After New York couldn’t pull ahead though, chances did pick up with some 4-on-4 action in the final five minutes, but neither team could convert.

But following a pretty dull regulation, things took a complete turn in overtime, with a really entertaining five minutes. We saw several good chances exchanged in a pretty fast-paced stretch, with the Capitals arguably having the better of the opportunities. Ilya Sorokin made some key saves to keep it going though, and overtime ended with the Islanders unable to capitalize on a later power play.

In the ensuing shootout, Evgeny Kuznetsov came in incredibly slow and beat Sorokin, but Bo Horvat tied it up right afterwards. Then after T.J. Oshie couldn’t score, Kyle Palmieri was able to beat Darcy Kuemper as the next shooter, putting all the pressure on Nicklas Backstrom. From there, Backstrom couldn’t convert, and the Islanders took the win.

While it was an uneventful game for the most part, that’s something that typically benefits the Islanders. New York gave up very little in the way of chances until overtime, even if they didn’t have a ton of great opportunities themselves.

It’s also just great to see the Islanders actually pick up a shootout win.

Pierre Engvall continues to be a really good addition for the Islanders as well, with five goals and seven points in 12 games. I wasn’t sure about the addition at the time of the trade, but he’s added speed, strength and offense, and the move has worked out really well thus far.

With the win, the Islanders are really starting to close in on locking up a playoff spot. They’re now five points up on the Pittsburgh Penguins and six points up on the Florida Panthers. The Panthers can only get as high as 93 points, and New York is now already at 87, with six games left.

New York does have a difficult back-to-back to close out their road trip though, beginning on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, before facing the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

Two other games to track tonight, though: the Florida Panthers face the Montreal Canadiens, while the Pittsburgh Penguins battle the Nashville Predators.

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