WASHINGTON – A depleted Capitals lineup fell 3-0 to the New York Islanders in the regular season finale on Saturday, as the team turns its attention towards the playoffs and defending the Stanley Cup.

Here are three reasons the Caps lost.

A depleted lineup

There are no excuses in professional sports. Every time your team takes the ice, you are expected to win regardless of who is in the lineup and who is not. Having said that, it is impossible to dismiss the impact of not having Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson.

No offense

Even without some of their top players, however, a team with a top line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson should have been able to generate more offense than they did on Saturday.

Through the first period, that top line was held without a single shot. They did get things going as the game went on – they finished with four combined shots – but New York is not an offensive juggernaut. This is a team that likes to play low-scoring, defensive games.

With the Rocket Richard Trophy still technically up for grabs, you expected more of a push from that top line.

Valtteri Filppula

Valtteri Filppula broke a 0-0 tie in the second period with a breakaway tally. The Caps broke into the offensive zone as the Islanders forwards were on the line change. Filppula was the last player on. As the Caps were on the rush, Jonas Siegenthaler skated right by him. Anthony Beauvillier knocked the puck off the stick of Jakub Vrana and Devon Toews made a heads up play with the deep pass to Filppula who was already behind the defense.


Filppula added the insurance tally in the third period.

For most of the season, a 2-0 deficit hardly felt insurmountable for a potent Washington offense. That was not the case on Saturday and Todd Reirden knew it, electing to pull Pheonix Copley for the extra attacker with over three minutes remaining in the game. Matt Martin scored the empty-netter to seal the game.