The Capitals opened the playoffs on the right foot on Wednesday with a 3-0 shutout victory in Game 1 over the New York Islanders in an NHL 20 simulation.
Result: Caps 3, Islanders 0
A breakout pass from Dillon set-up a 3-on-2 rush for the Caps. Wilson fed the puck to the high-slot where Ovechkin one-timed it past goalie Semyon Varlamov into the top corner.
2-0 Caps goal: John Carlson, unassisted
The Islanders halted T.J. Oshie as he entered the offensive zone with the puck. A trailing Carlson picked up the loose puck and fired a slap shot that hit off the cross bar and planted itself on the goal line. Defenseman Andy Greene tried to take the puck off the line behind Varlamov, but accidentally knocked it over instead.
3-0 Caps goal (empty-netter): Carl Hagelin, unassisted
Defenseman Scott Mayfield got a bit too cute in the offensive zone as he tried to bank a pass off the boards. It was intercepted by Hagelin who took it from the Caps' defensive zone to the other end of the ice, finishing off the game with the empty-net goal.
How the Caps won
1. The 2nd period
Things were pretty even after the opening frame. The Islanders were dominating in shots on goal 11-5, but the Caps had more higher-quality opportunities in what was, to that point, a scoreless game. Washington took complete control in the second period. Not only did Ovechkin and Carlson give the Caps a 2-0 lead, but the team put on a possession clinic, keeping the puck off the sticks of the Islanders at every turn.
The Caps outshot New York in the middle frame 7-0.
Despite misfiring in the second, the Islanders did manage a few quality shots and fired 11 shots on goal in the third period, but Holtby was there to turn each one of them aside. After not getting a shutout almost the entire season, Holtby now has two in as many simulations. He blanked the Florida Panthers in the regular-season finale as well.
3. Physical hockey
The blue and orange were left black and blue by the Caps who manhandled them physically throughout the game. New York had a tendency to hold onto the puck a bit too long looking for open passes and Washington made them pay each time. Carlson in particular was a wrecking ball. He was credited with only three hits, but in all three he knocked his opponent down to the ice.
Round 1 scoreboard
Washington leads New York 1-0
Philadelphia leads Pittsburgh 1-0
Boston leads Toronto 1-0
Tampa Bay leads Florida 1-0
Minnesota leads St. Louis 1-0
Colorado leads Dallas 1-0
Winnipeg leads Vegas 1-0
Edmonton leads Calgary 1-0
Game 2 will be simmed on Thursday.
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