Home Sports Islanders’ penalties nearly cost them against Capitals

Islanders’ penalties nearly cost them against Capitals

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The Islanders’ game plan to keep the Capitals off the power play imploded when they were called for six penalties in the first period alone.

After sitting in the penalty box for 15 minutes of the first, 11 of which were for roughing or fighting, the Islanders came out flat to start the second period and continued to get called for careless penalties.

Matt Martin laid an unnecessary cross check on Alex Ovechkin after the whistle, Jordan Eberle was caught hooking and to cap it all off, the Islanders were called for too-many-men at 16:04 of the second.

“We got a couple too many penalties tonight, unnecessary ones, bench minor, that kind of thing,” Anders Lee said following the 4-2 win in Game 1 on Wednesday. “You just got to keep your composure, it’s going to be a physical series. They’re going to hit you around, we’re going to respond the same way. You just got to be smart about it, know when to take one and when to lay off a little bit.”

The Capitals built their 2-0 lead in the second period on the power play, though only capitalized twice out of the seven man-advantage opportunities they had. It was a rare no-goal game for Alex Ovechkin, but the Islanders realized that they gave him too many chances to change that.

Matt Martin cross checks Alex Ovechkin during the Islanders' 4-2 win over the Capitals on Wednesday.
Matt Martin cross checks Alex Ovechkin during the Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Capitals on Wednesday.Getty Images

“Just stay out of the box,” coach Barry Trotz said. “They have a very good power play, so let’s stay out of the box. Play hard and play the right way.”

Lee led the Islanders with nine penalty minutes, including two separate fights. Matt Martin had four. The Capitals’ Tom Wilson led Washington with nine penalty minutes.


Trotz rolled with the same lineup that finished out the play-in series against the Florida Panthers.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk took warmups prior to Wednesday’s matchup after missing the last three games of the series with the Panthers due to a late and high hit he took in Game 1. However, Trotz chose to plug back in Andy Greene, who stepped up after Boychuk was unavailable last series.

In addition, Leo Komarov remained in the lineup after replacing Tom Kuhnhackl in Game 4 against Florida.

“[Komarov and Greene] played well when they were both in,” Trotz said. “There was no reason to take them out. I think there’s experience. I thought Andy and Nick Leddy were real strong today. Leo plays a playoff type of game, and the penalty kill. All those factors, that’s the reason that we stayed with the same lineup.”


Trotz became the second Islanders coach to face a former team in the playoffs (Ted Nolan 2007 vs. Buffalo) and the first to coach for and against the Islanders in the playoffs.

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