That's the only thing I can come up with to explain Friday night's confounding defeat of the Washington Capitals at the hands of the New York Islanders. At the Verizon Center, no less. It's confounding because the Capitals dominated the game in shots on goal and chances, not to mention by the third period it appeared the Islanders had all but thrown in the towel.
Propelled by Dwayne Roloson making 17 saves in the third period alone and forcing the game to overtime. The overtime winner went to Mark Streit, with an assist by John Tavares, of course. Tavares may not become the Calder trophy winner this year, as the draft class has more or less translated well in the bigs, but he is going to have quite the career. Every time he touches the puck, something happens, he's able to create chances and space, and if he's not scoring, he's finding someone who can. I can't really place who's style of play he mimics, I feel as though I've seen someone play like this before, the Ovechkin and Crosby comparisons aren't accurate, neither are the Jason Spezza comparisons. I don't know if Malkin is the closest I can come to, Tavares says he thinks he plays like Dany Heatley, but Heatley is a lot faster in my opinion.
Whatever the case, the Capitals powerplay put up astronomical numbers by this year's standards, netting two in six attempts. The Capitals powerplay situation is a bit confusing to me as well, they're not unable to score for lack of talent, but before tonight it seemed they were struggling just to hold the other team on defense. Really, the Capitals actually played relatively well, they didn't play like a team that should have lost the game tonight, I chalk the loss up to the fact that once Dwayne Roloson got warmed up, he started playing out of his mind. Put a hot goalie in front of a great offensive team like the Caps and see that offense become frustrated when they can't put it away.
Both teams this season have shown they're a bit hesitant this year to just put their foot on the other teams throat and just put the game away, so the third period was an edge of your seat type period. Especially with the Capitals getting so many chances and failing to capitalize (no pun intended).
What really needs to be seen from the Islanders standpoint, they're a team that should have some confidence right now, they need to build upon these two big wins this week. The Capitals on the other hand, and I feel I say this every time they lose, they need to play their game, simplify, get pucks on net and crash. They've proven they can be successful when they sort of dumb down their game and stop overthinking everything, and I'm confident they'll rebound, by hell or high water, they'll come back and I'm expecting them to eventually go on a tear. Right now, I think the Capitals are looking at the Penguins and saying "we should be there right now." All in due time.