Trent Hunter, playing for the first time in over a month, scored on a power play with 2:08 to play to force overtime, but in the eventual shootout, the Capitals got an 11th round goal from Chris Clark to beat the Islanders 5-4 in the longest shootout in Islander history and the longest in the NHL this season. On to the trick...
1. It certainly didn't start well for the Isles as Alex Semin scored the first of his two goals just eight seconds into the game. It was the earliest goal ever allowed by the Islanders (breaking a record set by Kevin Hatcher, also of the Caps, on Jan. 27, 1991) and tied the Capital record (set by Gaetan Duchesne is 1987) for their earliest goal. It's only the 22nd time in NHL history that a goal has been scored in the first eight seconds.
2. The Islanders rebounded for three goals before the game was seven minutes old, as Matt Moulson, Mark Streit, and Sean Bergenheim all scored to chase Jose Theodore in the shortest start of his career. The three goals were one more than the Isles had scored in the first period of their first eight road games this season. Washington had allowed only six first period goals prior to tonight all season!
3. The Caps scored three straight goals, off the sticks of Tomas Fleischmann, Semin, and Eric Fehr to take a 4-3 lead after two periods, setting the stage for Hunter's game-tying heroics. The first two of these goals were power-play tallies.
...and a few more...
4. The Isles had all three power plays in the third period, and cashed in on the third for the tying goal by Hunter. It was the only goal allowed by Semyon Varlamov, who replaced Theodore at the 6:54 mark. Varlamov finished with 25 saves.
5. In the shootout, two of the first three shooters scored, as Jeff Tambellini and Alex Semin tallied. The goalies then stopped seventeen straight before Clark scored the shootout winner. Washington, who has lost only three times all season, now leads the Eastern Conference with 26 points and are 9-1-2 in their last twelve games.
6. Dwayne Roloson made 37 saves during the game, and stopped nine of 11 in the shootout. The Isles have earned at least one point in 9 of his 10 starts (5-1-4).
7. With the shootout defeat, the Isles' record is now a soccer-like 6-6-6, including 5-2-3 in their last ten games. The Isles didn't earn their sixth "loser point" last season until their 53rd game. Three of the six loser points have come in shootouts (1-3) while three others have come in games decided in overtime (also 1-3). The Isles are now 1-4-4 on the road—their overall record was 1-4-4 after losing to Washington in overtime in October.
8. With Alex Ovechkin out with an injury, Alex Semin played like Alex Ovechkin. In addition to scoring twice and adding a shootout goal, Semin also had 11 shots on goal. Mark Streit led the Islanders with four shots on goal in 25:02 of ice-time, but it was Jack Hillen who led the squad, playing 25:24.
9. Rob Schemp played for the first time in 10 games, assisted on Streit's goal, and drew the penalty that led to Hunter's tying tally. He couldn't finish the story, though, as he was stopped by Varlamov when he had a chance to win the shootout for the Isles.
10. All three games between the teams this season have gone at least to overtime, with the Capitals winning twice. Seven of the last nine games between the squads have gone to overtime, with Washington winning four of the extra session games. The final meeting of the season will be on Long Island Jan. 26.
Up Next: The "Devilish" 6-6-6 Isles will next face Carolina on Friday...the 13th. The Hurricanes dropped to 2-12-3 with their loss to Los Angeles this evening. The 'Canes, who have equalled the worst start in their history, will be looking to avoid equalling their club record of 14 straight without a win. The Isles beat Carolina in a shootout last month for their first victory of the season.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick