The Islanders shut down superstar Alex Ovechkin for most of regulation but with the game on his stick in overtime, he refused to be ignored .
Less than two minutes into overtime, Number 8 went end to end, careening past the Islanders before burying a beautiful backhand shot with flourish for a dramatic come-from-behind 2-1 upset at Verizon Center.
With only 47.1 seconds on the clock, the Islanders saw a narrow 1-0 lead evaporate when Brooks Laich’s game-tying goal knotted the teams at 1.
Ovechkin’s league-leading 9th game-winning goal—25th of the season—sealed the Capitals’ four-game season sweep of the Islanders and spoiled an otherwise tremendous night for backup goaltender Nathan Lawson.
"It's extremely disappointing to lose it in that last 47 seconds. We battled so hard for 59 minutes. To come away with just one point is unacceptable," said Lawson, who made 40 saves.
It was literally two rookie mistakes that led to the Islanders fourth straight loss.
Standout rookie Michael Grabner bungled an opportunity to clear the puck along the boards before Laich’s equalizer and rookie defenseman Hamonic got beat trying to make a play along the wall on Ovechkin’s winner.
Both took full accountability for their gaffes.
“I misread where the guy was going and I tried to protect the puck,” Grabner said. “I should have gotten it out.”
"I was trying to keep the puck down low. I had one of their defenseman on my back. I heard one of our defenseman calling for the puck. I just tried to protect the puck a little bit and he just picked my pocket. He shot up the wall, chipped it to himself and went down the ice and scored on a nice move."
After letting up five goals in his last start, against Boston February 17, Lawson was brilliant for much of the game.
He began his night with clutch stops on recent Capitals acquisitions Marco Sturm and Jason Arnott in the opening minutes of the game. He denied Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Backstrom on successive sharp-angle shots in the third. But Lawson’s most breath-taking save came when robbed Jason Chimera in the second. Lawson made a spectacular diving stop against Chimera’s slick back-hander at 7:03.
“To stop 40 shots against this lineup, in front of a packed house on the road? It’s disappointing for him for sure,” coach Jack Capuano said after the game.
Despite being outshot 17-6 in the second period, Matt Moulson’s 28th goal of the season gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Capitals defenseman John Carlson’s turnover at the blue line led to a 2-on-1 rush for the Islanders and Moulson converted PA Parenteau’s feed at 10:08.
Moulson, who led the team with 30 goals last season, is now two shy of reaching that milestone with 18 more games left in the season. He has scored 11 goals since the NHL’s All Star Break.
Nursing a 1-0 lead in the third, the Islanders had two power-play opportunities but failed to add an insurance goal. The Capitals have blanked them 8-for-8 on the man-advantage the last two games.
“A power play goal, that would’ve been the difference in the game,” Capuano said.
Said Ovechkin of his game-winner:
“It was kind of a pretty goal. I’ll take it.”