The first game that the Washington Capitals played after the 2011 trade deadline was a Tuesday game against the New York Islanders at Verizon Center. The Islanders scored first and held onto that lead through most of the game. With less than a minute left, newly-acquired Jason Arnott fed Brooks Laich in the slot for a goal that broke up New York’s shutout and tied the game. In overtime, Alex Ovechkin cut to the net and scored the game-winning overtime goal to lift the Caps to victory.
The first game that Washington played after the 2012 trade deadline was a Tuesday game against New York at Verizon Center. The Islanders scored first and held onto that lead through most of the game. With less than a minute left, the Caps’ most recent trade acquisition (in terms of significance), Troy Brouwer, deflected in a shot in the slot for a goal that tied the game. In overtime, Ovechkin cut down the middle of the ice and scored the game-winning overtime goal to lift the Caps to victory.
Minus a few things, it was déjà vu all over again.
While the Caps did trail most of the game on the scoreboard, that was not reflected on the ice as they wore down the Islanders with an aggressive forecheck and earned the better scoring chances. That hard work may not have paid dividends at first, but it took its toll later in the game.
“We were working well all night down low,” Jay Beagle said. “We just kept saying, ‘Keep working down low and either they’re going to give us a power play or something’s gonna go in if we keep throwing pucks on net,’ so we did.”
Last season, the Caps’ post-deadline win over the Islanders was the second win of what ultimately turned out to be a season-high nine-game winning streak en route to a second-consecutive No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. This season’s Caps, mired in a tight race to even make the playoffs, hope that part of history can repeat itself, too.
“It‘s a huge win,” Michal Neuvirth said after winning his third consecutive start. “It shows a lot. This team never quit. It’s huge. We’re gonna take it one game at a time. We are happy with the win, but we still got a lot of work to do.”