WASHINGTON (AP) — The left half of the net was wide open for Troy Brouwer. When he missed badly, putting his shot wide, he was so exasperated that he slumped his shoulders and looked to the rafters as play continued.
It was that kind of game for both the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, who seemingly tried to top each other in trying to find the best way to waste a scoring chance. Players whiffed on open one-timers, several shots hit the goal frame, and all 11 power plays had fruitless outcomes.
Andrew MacDonald was the only player to find the target, scoring early in the third period Tuesday night as the last-place Islanders broke a five-game losing streak with a 1-0 win.
"We're a desperate team," New York coach Jack Capuano said. "I thought our guys really worked hard right from the start. ... We've been playing hard; we haven't been getting results."
MacDonald's slap shot from the point went past screened goalie Michal Neuvirth and just under the crossbar with 17:44 to play. Evgeni Nabokov, making his third start since returning from a groin injury, stopped 22 shots for his 57th career shutout. The Islanders scored only one goal for the third straight game — but at least this time it was enough to win.
"There was a lot of special teams. It was kind of a weird one," MacDonald said. "You don't really want to play with fire too much against these guys and give them too many power plays, but fortunately we were able to draw a couple while they were on the power play and negate them."
Neuvirth made 27 saves for the Capitals, who have lost 10 of 13 to tumble toward the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, only seven points ahead of the Islanders. Washington has been shut out four times this season, all at home.