It was a crushing end to a series that produced so many memories for the Islanders and the fan base as they gave the Nassau Coliseum one last hurrah before the move west to Brooklyn. Getting back to the Coliseum to play more hockey was the team's goal and they were disappointed they could not do that.
"We wanted tot get back home," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "The theme that they have at the Coliseum, with the jumbotron and the music and the chants, we actually played that before the game. So [the fans] were definitely in our thoughts. We wanted to get back there."
As much as the Islanders wanted to get back to Long Island for a second round series, the effort through the first 40 minutes was lacking. The visiting Islanders mustered only three shots in the second period and four in the second, while Washington had a combined 21 shots in the first two periods.
Jaroslav Halak kept the Islanders in the contest, but Joel Ward managed to get one into the back of the net late in the second as the Isles went into the third period trailing 1-0.
However, the Islanders managed to rally in the third and Frans Nielsen scored 3:13 into the period. There were chances to be had in the third period, but the game-winning goal eventually came in another wacky sequence. It appeared the Capitals entered the Islanders zone offsides -- even the arena music started playing -- but the whistle never blew. Eventually, Kuznetsov got the puck and got by two Islander forwards and outlasted Halak to score.
"Jaro kept us in the game," said Nielsen, who was on the ice for Kuznetzov's goal."It's just tough right now. The last goal there I can't get beat."
There are many things that could be pointed to as to what went wrong for the Islanders in Game 7. The biggest issue was the effort, which just wasn't there in the first two periods.
"It seemed like we were worried or on our heels a bit," John Tavares said. "We didn't want to make a mistake, and I think these games, in Game 7's, you've got to play a little bit more aggressive. You've got to play on your toes, especially on the road. We found a way to tie it, but it's just unfortunate."
The Islanders will have one more trip back to the Coliseum for the team's break up day. It will be their final chance to say goodbye to a building that has been home for many of them and a rink that has been so good to them in the final season there.
"I can't thank them enough," Capuano said about the fan support. "And I'm sure the players can't either."