WASHINGTON — The puck bounced through Dmitry Orlov's legs at the blue line, and as he skated to retrieve it, his stick outstretched, he couldn't corral it. The Islanders' Casey Cizikas knocked it away from him, setting up a breakaway for Shane Prince.
Prince's goal broke open a scoreless game in third period, and once the Islanders got their first, they poured it on, beating the Capitals, 3-0 on Thursday night. A turnover by Orlov also led to the Islanders' second goal, and a backhand shot by former Washington wing Jason Chimera was the third. The Islanders managed just five shots in the final period, but three found the net.
"We lost because of my two mistakes," Orlov said. "We don't have these moments, who knows?"
Orlov's miscues weren't the reason Washington again struggled to score. Its power play was failed to capitalize on any of its six opportunities. Washington has now lost consecutive games in regulation for just the second time this season. It faces the Lightning on Saturday at Amalie Arena.
"The story of the game was our power play wasn't very good," Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "Their penalty kill won them the game."
With the game scoreless to start the third period, Washington was gifted an opportunity in the form of a delay-of-game penalty by New York's Johnny Boychuk 37 seconds into the frame. But as it has all season, the power play struggled to get shots on net, tallying six misses. In six power-play chances, the man-advantage tallied just six shots on goal.
"It seemed like we had a lot of zone time tonight, and we were firing it," Niskanen said. "We're just not getting good looks, good second opportunities. So, we've got to do better."
After goalie Braden Holtby had been Washington's best player through two periods, stopping all 20 shots, he finished the game having allowed three goals on 29 shots. The Capitals had 38 shots on goal.
"In the end, it comes down to little moments, and we didn't do enough of them tonight," Holtby said. "Three goals in that span, it can't happen, no matter what they are, the third goal especially. It's my fault."
The Capitals had been off since a loss in Toronto on Saturday, while New York had played two games in the interim, including one Wednesday night. But Washington didn't take advantage of what may have been tired legs for the Islanders early, instead getting outshot for most of the first period.
The power play seemed to revive the Capitals before the first intermission. The Islanders' Brock Nelson was called for tripping 13:25 into the period, and once Washington's man-advantage got possession, it didn't relinquish it, moving the puck around in its formation. But though the Capitals had the zone time, they tallied just one shot on net during the power play. The unit has underwhelmed this season and was ranked 19th in the league entering the contest.