The puck bounced through Dmitry Orlov's legs at the blue line, and as he skated to retrieve it, his stick outstretched, he couldn't corral it. New York's Casey Cizikas knocked it away from him, setting up a breakaway for Shane Prince.
Prince's goal broke open a scoreless game in third period, and once the Islanders got their first, they poured it on, beating the host Washington Capitals, 3-0. A turnover by Orlov also led to the Islanders second goal, and a backhand shot by former Washington winger Jason Chimera was the third. The Islanders managed just five shots in the final period, but three found the net.
"Today, we lost because of my two mistakes," Orlov said. "We don't have these moments, who knows?"
Orlov's miscues weren't the reason Washington again struggled to score, as the team's power play failed to capitalize on any of its six opportunities. Washington has lost consecutive games in regulation for just the second time this season.
"The story of the game was our power play wasn't very good," Matt Niskanen said. "Their penalty kill won them the game."
With the game scoreless to start the third period, Washington was gifted an opportunity in the form of a delay-of-game penalty by New York's Johnny Boychuk just 37 seconds into the frame. But as it has all season, the power play struggled to get shots on net, tallying six misses. In six power-play chances, the man-advantage tallied just six shots on goal.
"It seemed like we had a lot of zone time tonight, and we were firing it," Niskanen said. "We're just not getting good looks, good second opportunities. So, we've got to do better."
Shortly after the power play expired, Orlov fumbled the puck at the blue line and Prince lifted the Islanders to a lead. Less than four minutes later, Orlov turned the puck over directly in front of goaltender Braden Holtby, and John Tavares pounced on his giveaway to setup a Brock Nelson goal.
"I tried to make a pass through the middle, but their guy was there, so I need to make simple play and don't try to do too much on that moment," Orlov said.
Chimera added to the lead exactly a minute later. After Holtby had been Washington's best player through two periods, stopping all 20 shots, he finished the game having allowed three goals on 29 shots. The Capitals had 38 shots on goal.
"In the end, it comes down to little moments, and we didn't do enough of them tonight," Holtby said. "Three goals in that span, it can't happen, no matter what they are, the third goal especially. It's my fault."
A night that turned sour started with the Capitals pulling a prank on rookie Jakub Vrana, who made his NHL debut Thursday. He walked through the tunnel for warmups, stepping onto the ice before glancing behind him. The rest of the team hadn't followed, letting the 2014 first-round pick take a solo lap on the ice.
With his parents watching from Prague, Vrana nearly scored on his first shift, a kick save from Jaroslav Halak preventing Vrana's backhander from finding the back of the net. But in a special teams-heavy game, Vrana didn't see the ice much, skating a team-low 10:10 for the game.
The Capitals had been off since a loss in Toronto on Saturday, while New York had played two games in the interim, including one Wednesday night. But Washington didn't take advantage of what may have been tired legs for the Islanders early on, instead getting outshot for most of the first period.
The power play seemed to revive the Capitals before first intermission. Nelson was called for tripping 13:25 into the period, and once Washington's man-advantage got possession, it didn't relinquish it, moving the puck around in its formation. But while the Capitals had the zone time, they tallied just one shot on net during the power play. The unit has underwhelmed this season and was ranked 19th in the league entering the contest.
The one time the power play did seemingly score, it was just a bit late. On a rush entering the zone with the first period about to expire, Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Justin Williams in front of the net, and Williams tapped the puck in for a goal as the buzzer for first intermission sounded.
The Capitals celebrated, but a video review of the goal showed the puck was just short of crossing the goal line when time ran out, a difference of a tenth of a second.
"In the old days, that would've been a big goal," coach Barry Trotz said.
Phelps considering Silicon Valley options
wants to dive into Silicon Valley's investment opportunities as he tries to make the transition from Olympic swimming star and product pitchman to entrepreneur. "I would love to get involved, whether it's in a couple little startups here and there, take a little risk, have some fun and see where it goes," the Baltimore-raised Phelps said in an interview during a recent visit to San Jose, Calif., while appearing at Intuit's QuickBooks software conference. For now, Phelps isn't providing any details about what he is going to do, though he says he has been getting advice from venture capitalists and other experienced investors in Silicon Valley startups. Phelps is exploring ways to expand his business ventures beyond endorsements and a line of swimwear and other clothing bearing his "MP" logo. "I am getting my feet wet," Phelps said with a grin. "2017 will be a big year."
Baseball: The Washington Nationals and catcher Jose Lobaton agreed to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration before today's nontender deadline. The contract is worth $1.575 million plus a $25,000 performance bonus if he reaches 200 plate appearances, according to people with knowledge of the situation. It is the second straight year that the sides have come to terms on a raise before the nontender deadline; Lobaton signed for $1.387 million last December to stay on as Wilson Ramos' backup for a third season. But with Ramos, a free agent, likely out of the picture, Lobaton, 32, who MLB Trade Rumors projected would make $1.6 million through arbitration, could assume an increased role in 2017.
— Jorge Castillo, The Washington Post
Varsity boys basketball: The William Wells Challenge, featuring four of the area's top teams, is set for Dec. 10, at UMBC's RAC Arena. The opening game, at 4:30 p.m., will feature No. 1 Mount Saint Joseph against No. 2 Poly. The nightcap, at 6:30 p.m., will pit No. 9 St. Frances against No. 13 Patterson. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 at the door. VIP courtside seats are $50. For more information, call Corrigan Sports at 410-605-9381.
Varsity girls basketball: Sydney Mitchell scored 11 points, but No. 7 Seton Keough lost its season opener, 49-45, to visiting Elizabeth Seton. The Roadrunners (1-0) led the entire game.
College football: Defensive end-linebacker Lawtez Rogers, a three-star prospect who plays at Eleanor Roosevelt in Prince George's County, committed Thursday night to Maryland, he announced on Twitter. Rogers, 6 feet 4, 235 pounds, also had interest from Rutgers and Temple.
— Jonas Shaffer
Men's college basketball: Grant Riller made 20 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and College of Charleston earned a 70-64 victory over visiting Navy. The Cougars (5-3) made 20 of 29 free throws in the second half and 27 of 36 for the game while the Mids (3-5) were just 10-for-18. There were seven ties, including 26-26 at halftime, and 22 lead changes before two free throws put Charleston up for good, 56-54, with 4:27 to play. George Kiernan, one of three to foul out for Navy, had 15 points and Shawn Anderson had 14. … St. Mary's junior captain Delaszo Smith (Annapolis) was named Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week. ... Salisbury (4-0) is ranked No. 19 in the first D3hoops.com men's Top 25 of the season.
Women's college basketball: Maryland senior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and senior center Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) were selected to the 25-player watch list for the Wade Trophy, awarded to the best player in Division I, by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
College field hockey: Maryland graduate student Grace Balsdon, junior Lein Holsboer and senior Welma Luus were named to the 16-member National Field Hockey Coaches Association's All-Mid Atlantic first team. Maryland sophomore Linnea Gonzales (Patterson Mill), junior Carrie Hanks and redshirt senior Emma Rissinger made the second team. ... Three Salisbury seniors — Becca Rinaca (North Harford), Hannah Miller (Severna Park) and Annah Brittingham — made the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South second team. Salisbury's Dawn Chamberlin was named Coach of the Year.
Men's college water polo: Johns Hopkins sophomore Giorgio Cico was named to the All-Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference East Region first team. Senior Matt Fraser made the second team.
Women's college volleyball: Maryland freshman outside hitter Gia Milana was named All-Big Ten honorable mention and made the freshman team. ... Salisbury senior Katie Stouffer was named ECAC Division III South Offensive Player of the Year and was joined on the first team by Johns Hopkins junior Elizabeth Wuerstle and Stevenson junior Annika Schwartz. Stevenson junior Deanna Bradbury made the second team. Hopkins' Tim Cole was named Coach of the Year.
College track and field: The Johns Hopkins men's and women's indoor teams were each selected to finish first in the Centennial Conference preseason poll.