A strange Washington Capitals 2019-20 season has finally come to an end.
After a win in Game 4 to keep their season alive, the Washington Capitals came up empty, literally, in Game 5 ending their season. The New York Islanders and Barry Trotz came away with a 4-0 victory.
The Islanders struck first at 10:19 in the opening period on a power play goal from Anthony Beauvillier after Nic Dowd was called for hooking Casey Cizikas. 1-0 was the score after one with the Caps leading in shots 8-6.
Beauvillier added his second goal of the game at 9:33 in the second period. 2-0 would be the score after two with the Islanders leading in shots 7-6. The Islanders added two empty net goals late in the third period to seal the win. The first came from Nick Leddy while the second came from Josh Bailey.
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The Caps led in shots in the third period 7-4 and overall 21-17. Semyon Varlamov made 21 saves in the win. Braden Holtby, in what possibly was his last Capitals game, made 13 saves for an .867 save percentage.
Now that the season is over, the Caps enter an offseason full of questions in perhaps the end of an era.
“Yeah, obviously, it’s always tough to lose in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Every time you lose it’s tough. But looking at this series, over these five games they wanted it more that us – you could see that overall – and they were more disciplined than us, too. But every time you lose it’s obviously tough, but somehow you’ve got to regroup and get back next year,” said Nicklas Backstrom after the game.
Backstrom left Game 1 with a hit from Anders Lee and his presence was missed in Games 2-4. He suited up for Game 5, being cleared from play from concussion protocol and centered the third line.
“Obviously, every time you lose a series, it’s tough. But the mistake we made in the previous games obviously cost us the series, and it’s tough. But there’s nothing you can do right now but move on,” said Alex Ovechkin.
This is the second year in a row that the Caps have exited the playoffs from the first round fresh after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. This year stings a little more for head coach Todd Reirden, who lost this series to a bench counterpart who used to coach here.
Now the Caps enter an offseason with more questions than answers.