In Game 4, John Tavares found himself stick-less as Washington Capitals' forward Nicklas Backstrom scored in overtime to tie the best-of-seven game series at two. Tavares snapped his stick during a face-off in the Islanders zone and Backstrom -- cognizant that Tavares didn't have a stick -- shot and scored.
"I've never seen anything like it, to be honest with you. It's the third goal now with a broken stick," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We're all in good position, everybody has good position... [Backstrom] is a smart player and he recognized that Johnny didn't have his stick. When he did he got a puck to the net and it hit off a player, and it goes in the back of the net.
"They had two goals like that tonight."
Most of Tuesday night was spent with the Islanders and Capitals tied. Washington took their first lead of the series at 13:06 in the first period, but a a goal in the closing seconds of the first by Casey Cizikas even the game up at one. It wasn't until Backstrom's overtime winner that the score changed.
Both teams made their pushes and had opportunities to score throughout the evening. Braden Holtby, who made 36 saves, and Jaroslav Halak, who stopped 28 shots, stepped up to keep the opposing team off the board. Two of Halak's biggest saves came during a third period penalty kill, when he made two game-saving stops.
The Islanders only went to the penalty box once on Tuesday night. The Capitals were penalized four times -- three of which occurred in the second period -- but the Islanders failed to convert on any of their opportunities on the man-advantage. The Isles created some scoring chances, but couldn't generate much more after that on the power play.
"You have a power play, you want to score. We had some shots, had some looks, but obviously we have to find a way to get one," Tavares said.
Capuano felt after the game that his team missed opportunities -- especially in the second period -- by not being able to convert on the power play
"Three straight power plays we didn't generate a whole lot," Capuano said. "I think we had maybe one or two chances, but you look back at the game and that's the turning point for me."
The Islanders and Capitals head back to Washington for Game 5 on Thursday with the series tied at two. Aside from the broken sticks and the power play, both teams played a pretty even game. The Isles were upset after the loss, but they know there is still plenty of work to be done.
"Tomorrow is a new day and it's a 2-2 series," Brian Strait said. "We were playing no matter what on Thursday, so our focus is on Thursday now."