After going on a four-game losing skid, the Washington Capitals have strung a couple of wins together this holiday weekend, winning at home against Montreal on Friday and on the road against the New York Islanders in OT, 3-2.
The first period was bereft of much excitement, aside from a strong start from both teams, and a cornucopia of scoring chances for both. The Caps controlled possession, but were outshot by the Isles, but the period ended in a scoreless tie.
Midway through the second period, the third line of Martin Erat (who got to dress tonight thanks to Brooks Laich’s absence), Aaron Volpatti, and Tom Wilson got the Caps on the board. Erat made a smart play behind the net to get the puck to Wilson, who threw it on net. Isles goaltender Anders Nilsson gave up the rebound, which Volpatti then swatted in.
The Islanders tied things up with a shorthanded tally by Cal Clutterbuck on the Capitals’ only power play of the game early in the third. With less than two minutes left to play, Thomas Vanek gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead on an odd play in the Caps zone.
Braden Holtby appeared to have the puck frozen under his glove – which would typically warrant a whistle in most cases. The puck popped out and Holtby lost it in the shuffle, leading to the Islanders goal.
The Caps attempted to pull Holtby late with a little over a minute left, but Mike Green was called for interference on Michael Grabner, and the hopes of a late game-tying goal for the Capitals looked a bit bleak.
Nicklas Backstrom broke a 12-game goalless streak with his shorthanded game-tying goal with under a minute left. He’d gone 5 games without a point, his longest drought since 2010.
Alex Ovechkin made quick work of the overtime period, scoring his 21st goal of the season with just under three minutes to play. He has 5 career game-winning goals against the Islanders alone.
Holtby was brilliant again tonight, stopping 32 of 34 shots directed at the Caps’ net. It was the 23rd time this season the Capitals have allowed 30 or more shots out of the 27 they’ve played so far this season.
Dmitry Orlov finally got a sweater tonight, too, his season debut. He logged 13:41 of ice time, and had a solid, if uneventful outing.