The New York Islanders were driving against the Washington Capitals when they led 3-0 early in the second period. But a questionable strike from forward Alex Ovechkin against Jean-Gabriel Pageau gave the Capitals all the momentum as they charged back to force extra time before defender Dmitry Orlov completed the comeback in a 4-3 win.
Here was Ovechkin’s hit on Pageau:
Ovechkin lashed out at Pageau pic.twitter.com/DDEZLhS7uA
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 17, 2023
Pageau left the contest shaky but somehow returned before the end of the second and finished the game. He needs no further investigation as he has been cleared for return.
No penalty was imposed for the game, even after an official review found Ovechkin broke no rules.
Lane Lambert, head coach of the New York Islanders, thought differently when, clearly angry, he replied:
“Very surprised. Charge up, get in, whatever it is. He made moves and we definitely should have been on the power play.”
Lambert, in his quiet way, was already angry at how the game had turned out. Apart from the strong start there was nothing to complain about.
When we entered the locker room before Lambert’s conference, Pageau was absent. The islanders did not make him available for questioning, but his teammates shared their thoughts on the hit.
“We’re hoping for a call, but yeah, every time a guy goes down, the guys have to get up, so you have to look past that a little bit and go out there and take care of business,” Brock Nelson said.
Obviously they didn’t.
“I didn’t really see it in real time. But I think he was in a pretty vulnerable position just when he took a shot, you open up like that, but I’m glad to see it was okay and came back,” said Noah Dobson. ‘
“Honestly, I didn’t really see it,” Hudson Fasching said. “I mean from what I saw it kind of looked like a hit on the head, so I mean obviously you never like to see your teammates and linemates get hurt so I’m just glad it did he’s fine.”
Matt Martin, who was left bleeding after being hit in the face by a Dylan Strome bat, wasn’t a fan of the hit.
“Didn’t love it obviously. But they looked at it and found it illegal, so what can you do.”
The islanders have seen a handful of players go down this season with little to no retaliation. Add that Pageau injury to Adam Pelech, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kyle Palmieri and Simon Holmstrom this season.
Lambert was asked if he felt his team lacked reaction after hitting big with teammates:
“I think if you look at the scoresheet Matt Martin had 10 hits tonight. I think there was a reaction.”
The problem was that no one was after Ovechkin.
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