The Islanders always give the Caps trouble and that continued on Tuesday with a 4-3 loss in Brooklyn.
How it happened: Cal Clutterbuck opened the scoring on a nice play by Nikolay Kulemin. Kulemin started the rush after Dmitry Orlov turned the puck over on an ill-advised drop pass. Kulemin’s initial shot hit the post, but Clutterbuck knocked in the rebound. The Capitals evened things up later in the first period. After multiple scoring, Justin Williams finally got one past Jaroslav Halak as he knocked in a rebound off of an Alex Ovechkin shot. The Islanders retook the lead in the second period thanks to Andrew Ladd. New York cycled the puck in the left corner drawing the Caps defense leaving Ladd wide open on the doorstep. A great pass from Thomas Hickey found Ladd for the goal. Ovechkin tied the game again for the Caps in the start of the third period, knocking home the rebound from a Williams shot.
The tie did not last long. Just 3:24 later, Alan Quine faked a shot and fed Ladd for the tip in past Holtby to give the Islanders back the lead. Anders Lee extended the lead 43 seconds later as he stole the puck from Matt Niskanen and scored on the breakaway. The Caps pulled one back as Andre Burakovsky scored off a double deflection that left Halak helpless, but that would be as close as Washington came.
What it means: The Caps have now lost three of their last four games. Against the last place team in the Metropolitan Division, Washington is now 2-2-0 on the season. The loss drops their record within the division to 4-5-3.
Turning point: The Caps had control of the game until the second period when three straight penalties took the team out of sync and gave the Islanders control. New York didn't score on those opportunities, but it clearly tilted the ice in their favor. The real turning point, however, came in the third period when the Caps coughed up two quick goals, the second of which proved to be the game-winner. Just when Ovechkin had tied the game, Ladd and Lee scored in a period of 43 seconds to put the Islanders up by 2.
Down goes Wilson: The Caps were upset after the Islanders' third goal after the refs did not whistle the play dead with Tom Wilson down in the corner. Wilson blocked a shot from Johnny Boychuk who then finished Wilson off with a shove to the ice. Wilson was down for several seconds, but the play resumed. Wilson eventually got to his feet and tried to hobble back into the play, but the play ended with Ladd's second goal of the game.
What slump? Remember when we were wondering what Williams had to do to get a goal? The veteran forward managed only 2 goals in his first 24 games of the season. Since then, however, he has been absolutely on fire with six goals in his last nine games. Williams made his home right in the face of Islanders’ netminder Jaroslav Halak and it resulted in the first period goal. He also assisted on Ovechkin's third period goal.
Eight more to go: With two points on the night, Ovechkin now sits just eight points away from point No. 1000. The Great 8 is already the all-time franchise leader in points.
Look ahead: The Capitals will close out 2016 with a home-and-home with the New Jersey Devils. The Caps will host the Devils on Thursday and then head to New Jersey for a New Year’s Eve rematch.
LATEST POWER RANKINGS: Make or break time for the Caps