It Was Over When:
Mike Green decided that it was – see the goal notes on the overtime winner by Brooks Laich.
THN Turning Point:
Green’s goal in the third period – it gave the Capitals life, and seemed to subsequently put the Islanders back on their heels.
For two periods of the Capitals – Islanders game, it was a dull, low scoring affair. The Islanders couldn’t put them away early though, and the Caps came back with two goals in the third period and forced overtime, where Brooks Laich scored to give Washington a 3-2 victory.
Laich’s goal came just a minute into the extra period, when he crashed the net and tipped in a Mike Green pass. It was Laich’s fourth goal of the young season, and his first game winning goal; but make no mistake about it, the goal was created by Green. The young blue-liner looked like a man possessed on the rush, and carried the puck out of his own zone, through the neutral ice, and into the Isles zone; he then threw the puck at a streaking Laich, who tapped it into the net.
The win was Washington’s third overtime victory in a row in New York – in fact, it was actually the fourth consecutive overtime decision between the two squads at Nassau Coliseum. Alex Ovechkin scored two overtime winners last year, and Rickard Park gave the Isles an overtime win over the Caps back on December 22, 2007.
Early on, the Islanders took the lead on a first period short-handed goal from Radek Martinek. The Capitals got caught up ice on the power play, and Martinek made them pay on a nifty 3-on-2 pass from Frans Nielsen. New York had a 1-0 lead, and the Caps had given up the game’s first goal for just the second time in their first ten games.
It stayed that way until New York made it 2-0 at the beginning of the third. Jeff Tambellini redirected a Blake Comeau shot that was going wide, and tipped it past Jose Theodore for a two goal spread. Believe it or not, it was the first time in this 10-game old season that the Caps have trailed by two goals. Comeau’s shot came after Josh Bailey beat Nicklas Backstrom clean on a draw to the right of Theodore; the Caps were dismal at the face-off dot on Saturday, going just 20 of 66 (30%).
Less than three minutes later, Mike Green got Washington back to within one. The Capitals broke out of their own end beautifully, and hit Mike Knuble as he entered the Isles zone; Knuble sensed Green jumping into the play and laid a beautiful blind back pass on to his stick. Green made no mistake and fired a Howlitzer off the far post and in, to half the deficit to 2-1 Islanders.
The Caps completed the comeback at just past the 13-minute mark of the third. Keith Aucoin took advantage of an out-of-the-net Dwayne Roloson, and tucked the puck in on a wrap around. Alex Ovechkin was going hard to the net and an Islander defenseman pushed him into the crease – putting Roloson out of position. Aucoin picked up the loose puck behind the net and banked it in off of New York center Josh Bailey to even the game at 2-2.
After the game, coach Bruce Boudreau said that he sensed the outcome coming, “I just thought the play of the team… you could feel it on the bench that they were going to come back tonight.”
Jose Theodore had a lot to do with the victory as he fought hard and kept the Caps in the game. While he only had to face 24 shots, crucial saves early on were a big part of what allowed the Caps to storm back.
Doing so brought the Caps record to 6-2-2 atop the Southeast Division, and second overall in the Conference behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Washington’s fourth win in a row.
The Caps had five first period shots on goal, their fewest in any first period this season… the Islanders blocked an impressive 25 shots – 10 in each of the first two periods, and 5 in the third… the Caps took just two penalties on the evening – a marked improvement in discipline… Both Ovechkin and Green logged more than 26 minutes of ice time… Keith Aucoin had the least amount of ice time for any Cap with less than 9 minutes, but made it count with the game-tying goal in the third.