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Recap: Capitals 4, Islanders 0

John Tavares returns as the Islanders wrap up their preseason

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

The New York Islanders wrapped up their preseason on Sunday night, falling 4-0 to the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. The Islanders finished the preseason with a 4-4-0 record. 

John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak (23 saves) made their preseason debuts on Sunday, as the Islanders iced their most veteran lineup to date this preseason. Tavares centered the top line with Andrew Ladd and PA Parenteau and finished with three shots on 20:11 TOI. 

"It was good for me, I was kind of getting used to the left side playing nine games there, so it was good for me just to get back in the middle and try to be in the right spots and get a rhythm there," Tavares said. "I was happy to get this one under my belt to get ready for the season and get into sync with this group."

The two exceptions, 19-year-olds Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier, both given another chance to impress Jack Capuano and company. 

"It was a man's game tonight," Capuano said. "I think it's a little bit of a different game. Both of those kids are playing against guys that are obviously will make their hockey team, so it's a great experience for those guys. 

While no Islander was able to solve Braden Holtby (24 saves), Barzal had the Islanders' best chance, ringing a shot off the crossbar in the second period. The 2015 first-rounder finished the game with one shot in 11:55 TOI including 2:21 on the power play. 

"I thought Barzal made some good plays," Capuano said. "We talk about him all the time, but there are still some times where the easy play is the play to be made."

Beauvillier had two shots on goal in 10:48 TOI, including 2:27 on the penalty kill. Barzal finished the preseason with a goal and three assists, while Beauvillier had the game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, but has been lauded for his defense. 

Andre Burakovsky opened the scoring early, beating Jaroslav Halak on the first shot of the game at 1:06. Lars Eller put the Capitals up 2-0 in the second period, batting a knuckler past Halak at 5:31, while Alex Ovechkin scored a one-timer on the power play at 15:20. Ovechkin had a hand in T.J. Oshie's third period goal, with Ovechkin feeding Oshie for the backdoor play at 14:53. 

"I don't think you can gauge anything yet," Tavares said. "So it's just good to get out there and get in some game situations and talk a little bit and obviously try to build on some things and find our game. 

The Islanders have to cut their roster from 29 to 23 before Wednesday, the start of the NHL season. The Islanders begin their season on Thursday, when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. 

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