Capitals Come Back on Long Island

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Despite going down 3-0 in the first half of the game and losing center Nic Dowd to injury, the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime Monday night. The victory marks the Capitals’ most significant comeback win of the season. Washington is now 3-2-1 in January.

Sebastian Aho and Matt Martin gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period. Darcy Kuemper was screened in the crease for both goals. The Capitals ended the period with only five shots on goal.

Dowd left the game after his second shift, only five and a half minutes into the contest. He received a heavy hit from Cal Clutterbuck near the Capitals’ bench. He went directly to the dressing room. Dowd tested his legs during a TV timeout later on but did not return to the game.

With Dowd out, Nicklas Backstrom played on both the third and fourth lines for the rest of the first 20 minutes. Marcus Johansson moved to center for a few shifts later in the game. For the penalty kill, Conor Sheary slid into his spot. Lars Eller was a healthy scratch for the game; head coach Peter Laviolette has changed the lineup for each game this past week.

Alex Ovechkin leveled a heavy hit on Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the offensive zone with 13:25 left in the middle period. The referees reviewed the potential major penalty and deemed the hit not to be an infraction.

The Capitals got on the board halfway through the game when Garnet Hathaway tapped in a rebound from Ilya Sorokin’s pads. Just over three minutes later, Backstrom connected with Tom Wilson to bring the Capitals within one goal. The two had returned to the lineup for the Capitals eight days prior in Washington’s 1-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Early in the final period, Darcy Kuemper briefly received medical attention following a sprawling, point-blank save on Hudson Fasching. In the crowded and chaotic crease, Dmitry Orlov stumbled and clipped his goalkeeper’s helmet. Kuemper stayed in after speaking with the athletic trainer, Jason Serbus. T.J. Oshie later tipped a shot from Erik Gustafsson to tie the game for the Capitals with 14 minutes remaining.

The Islanders nearly won a half-minute into overtime when Jean-Gabriel Pageau claimed a blocked shot for a breakaway. Kuemper turned him away, and neither team had a significant scoring chance for four more minutes.

Then Oshie and Orlov connected on an overlap play on the left side in the final minute of overtime. Orlov ended the game with a lateral deke on Ilya Sorokin and lifted the puck into the net.

Though the win is a welcome turnaround from being outscored 8-4 in two losses to the Flyers, there are still areas for the Capitals to improve. The team registered 19 giveaways and has allowed the first goal in 7 of their last eight games. The Capitals had one power play and did not score; they are now 0-10 on the man advantage in the previous five games.

The Capitals are immediately back in action Tuesday to host the Minnesota Wild at Capital One Arena at 7 p.m. Laviolette did not have an update on Dowd’s status.

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