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Young Guns and Jaro Halak Help Islanders Take Game 1 from Favored Capitals

credit: Halak played for the Caps last season

Halak played for the Caps last season

At the start of this season, the Islanders’ hottest goal-scorer wasn’t John Tavares; it was 23 year-old Brock Nelson who opened the season by scoring 2 goals in the regular season opener, and would score a total of 5 goals in the season’s first three games.

He opened the post season the same way he started his regular season; scoring a pair of goals.

Just over 6 minutes into  the opening stanza, Nelson fired a wrist shot past Braden Holtby to get the Isles off to a quick start.

Conceding late goals has been an issue for New York all season, and last night was no exception.  In one of the few mistakes Halak made, he attempted to play a puck behind his cage and ended up giving it away to Brooks Laich who hit Marcus Johansson who tied it for the Caps as the period drew to a close.

The Islanders however would take over the rest of the game.

Just under four minutes into the second period, 21 year-old Ryan Strome walked out toward the high slot off a clean face-off win by John Tavares.

Strome sent a wrist shot through the pads of Holtby to send New York to a 2-1 advantage.

The old man of the bunch 25 year-old Josh Bailey added the third when he pushed a rebound just past the shaky Braden Holtby.

Nelson’s second was an empty net goal as he raced down the ice to negate an icing call before popping it into the open cage.

Going into the season, the Capitals dumped Jaro Halak to the Islanders trading his rights before the year started putting their future on Braden Holtby.

That seemed to be the right decision as Holtby had a fabulous regular season.

However for one game, Halak outshined his former teammate stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced while Holtby managed to stop just 23 of 26 en-route to the loss.

Halak’s best moment came with under 11 minutes to go in the contest.

With the Isles up 3-1, Alex Ovechkin found a loose puck on the left wing and had a wide open net at which to shoot.

Halak slid over to make a save on Ovechkin’s wrist shot as Ovechkin elected to hesitate rather than fire a one-timer-type effort.

The Islanders will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead on Friday in Washington.

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