The biggest story before the game was obviously the question of whether or not Tom Wilson would return from an injury sustained during last Friday’s game. Easily the Caps best player in the young season, his importance has been heightened in the absence of 4 of the Caps key players (including Alex Ovechkin) due to Covid-19 protocols.
While Wilson was present for the optional morning skate, he ultimately was not available for the Caps.
Further depleting the Caps was an injury to Brian Pinho, which led to Sgarbossa getting his first crack at the lineup this season, along with Daniel Carr.
With the Next Man Up being the theme of the Caps season so far, Vitek Vanecek has certainly embraced the mentality playing out of his mind, with a .947 5v5 Save% going into the game, including stopping 45 Sabres shots on Sunday. This would be his 4th start in a row.
The first period started fairly evenly with both teams getting a few opportunites, but nothing mind-blowing. The Caps got their first PP opportunity at 9:48 with a Tripping penalty from Matt Martin. Noted PP specialist John Carlson Capitalized on a rebound from a Justin Schultz BOMB.
Unfortunately, the Islanders responded almost relatively quickly, with a pinball shot that quite frankly, I don’t blame on anybody.
The score would end up staying 1-1 going into the first intermission.
Like in most of the games this season, the Caps took 3 penalties in the 2nd, but somehow managed to kill off all three. Unfortunately, the Caps weren’t able to kill yet another brutal Zdeno Chara turnover.
This is the second time this season he’s made a pass from the corner to no man’s land leading directly to a goal.
Fortunately, on the other hand, Daniel Sprong’s absolute rocket of a shot came into play as the Caps managed to tie the game up.
The goal was Sprong’s first with the Caps, and was also Daniel Carr’s first point with the team as he got an assist on the play.
The third period was an absolute war of attrition, particularly down the Center as the Caps lost both Eller and Backstrom to injury. Next man up continued to be the theme of the game. The injury to Eller was brought to you by Leo Komorov, which led to a 5 minute major powerplay, that the Caps somehow failed to score on.
But then, somehow with less than a minute left:
JUSTIN SCHULTZ WITH THE BOMB
How bout that new onside rule eh bois?
Solid, gritty win from the team.