Islanders Eliminate Alex Ovechkin, Capitals from Playoffs with 4-0 Game 5 Win

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 21, 2020

New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) celebrates his goal with left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) and right wing Josh Bailey (12) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Barry Trotz has taken his revenge.

Two years after leading the Washington Capitals to their only Stanley Cup in franchise history, the head coach of the New York Islanders guided his team to a series win with a 4-0 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first round Thursday night.

new york islanders @NYIslanders


A contract dispute after winning the Cup in 2018 saw Trotz resign from Washington and land with the Islanders. The Caps haven't advanced past the first round of the playoffs since.

Two New York goals in the first 30 minutes of the game had Washington playing from behind for the majority of the night as goalie Semyon Varlamov—a Capitals netminder from 2008 to 2011—halted any chance of a comeback with a 21-save shutout.


The Josh Bailey assist. The Anthony Beauvillier (@titobeauvi21) goal. Both unreal. #StanleyCup 🇺🇸: https://t.co/UfgC6MEihV @NHLonNBCSports 🇨🇦: https://t.co/ujaIEh4p5C @Sportsnet https://t.co/H6UvLSC2C7

The Islanders went the final 12 minutes of the third period without allowing a shot on goal to make Varlamov's life a bit easier.


Notable Performers

Anthony Beauvillier, LW, New York Islanders: 2 goals, 2 SOG, 2 hits

Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders: 21 saves, 0 goals allowed

Josh Bailey, RW, New York Islanders: 2 assists, 1 goal

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals: 3 SOG, -3 +/-, 2 hits, 20:34 TOI

Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals: 13 saves, 2 goals allowed


Beauvillier Bounces Another from the Bubble

In Game 4 against the Florida Panthers during the qualifying round, Anthony Beauvillier erupted for two goals in a 5-1 victory to advance into the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

On Thursday against the Washington Capitals, he helped eliminate another club with two more goals. 

The 23-year-old winger has emerged as one of the most clutch players on a New York team that's proved it can wipe out both the up-and-coming clubs as well as the well-established ones. Before the 2019-20 season, Beauvillier had recorded just two playoff points total in eight games.

One year later he's producing a point per game through nine postseason contests (six goals, three assists). 

new york islanders @NYIslanders

nelson ➡️ beauvillier ➡️ goallll!! 🚨 https://t.co/XxmqBibyyY

Beauvillier opened up the scoring 10:19 into the first period with a power-play goal by kicking off a beautiful passing play on the right wing that allowed him to creep behind the defense unnoticed and score a wide-open backdoor goal. 

His second of the night came at full strength as he gathered the puck from Josh Bailey off the rush and drove straight toward's Holtby before flipping the puck just over the goalie's left shoulder as two Capitals converged on him with a massive hit. 

new york islanders @NYIslanders

beauvillier's second beauty of the night! 😍 https://t.co/HV4qmBAkso

Beauvillier stayed down on the ice for a few moments, and then his teammates grabbed him to celebrate.

Nick Leddy and Bailey both added empty-netters for good measure, but the game was already in hand thanks to Beauvillier's brilliance. 


Where Does Washington Go Next?

The Capitals have won the Metropolitan Division in back-to-back years under head coach Todd Reirden only to fall in the first round of the playoffs. 

The 2020 postseason may not be able to provide the most clear-cut picture of where the franchise goes next, given the unusualness of playing inside the bubble following more than 130 days off, but change is coming to D.C. whether the team is ready or not. 

Goalie Braden Holtby is scheduled to become a free agent, and he'll likely find a starting job elsewhere with Washington handing the crease back to Ilya Samsonov.

Defensemen Radko Gudas and Brenden Dillon are also headed to unrestricted free agency this offseason. According to DailyFaceoff.com, Dillon and John Carlson combined to make up the 20th-best pairing among defensive starters. Dillon (one goal, 13 assists in 69 games) is still just 29 years old, and though he didn't provide the offensive firepower his partner brings, the Caps still traded a 2020 second-round pick and 2021 conditional third-rounder to San Jose to acquire him in February. 

Of course, much of the focus will come back to Reirden and whether he'll be retained. 

The first-time head coach is still looking to prove himself in the playoffs. How much time will a contending  Washington club give him to figure it out? 


What's Next

The Islanders became the third Eastern Conference team to advance to the second round, joining the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. The NHL will reseed the remaining teams before the next round begins, so New York will have to wait until the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens wrap up their series before learning their next opponent. 

The Flyers currently lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 on Friday.