Thanks to a third period marker from Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals managed to force extra time in this afternoon’s game against the New York Islanders, but it took captain John Tavares just 15 seconds of overtime to make Backstrom and Washington’s efforts moot.
That has to be frustrating, but Washington can’t afford to get frustrated.
“We need to forget this one and understand what we need to do to be successful in the next one,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told CSN Washington.
“We know the environment; we know the opposition. We’ll probably make a couple of subtle changes and go back at it. We’ll pout about it for an hour and let it go and have positive thoughts going forward.”
Washington is now down 2-1 in the series, so naturally another loss on Tuesday would push the Capitals to the brink. The pressure is on Alex Ovechkin in particular after the Islanders managed to limit him to three shots on goal Sunday. Special teams are another big X-factor given that the squads are a combined 1-for-12 with the man advantage in this series. The power play is particularly important for Washington given that it was one of its main strengths in the regular season.
On the plus side, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby returned from an illness and stopped 40 of 42 shots.
“He was square to the puck,” Trotz said. “They were putting pucks on him from everywhere. He responded well. He looked sharp.”
Washington is in a difficult position, but it certainly has reasons to believe it can bounce back.
Video: Tavares, Islanders take 2-1 series lead with OT win
The New York Islanders needed just 15 seconds of overtime to net the game-winner.
John Tavares put home the rebound off of a Nikolay Kulemin shot for his first of the playoffs.
The Islanders’ captain had a league-high four overtime winners in the regular season.
New York dominated the first two periods out-shooting the Caps 33-13.
Kyle Okposo’s second of the playoffs gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead after two periods.
Nicklas Backstrom tied it 1-1 at 13:54 of the third to force overtime.
Capitals forward Eric Fehr left the game early in the first period with an upper body injury following a hit from Okposo and did not return.
Braden Holtby, who missed Game 2 due to illness, made 40 saves in the loss.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 24 shots for the win.
Nicklas Backstrom got the Caps on the board at 13:41 of the third period with his second goal of the playoffs.
The goal tied the game at 1-1 and has sent the game to overtime.
After being out-shot 33-13 through two periods, the Caps outshot the Islanders 12-7 in the third.
Things looked dire for the Washington Capitals more than once in Game 2 against the New York Islanders on Friday night. They kept grinding away, though, and their reward is a 4-3 win and a 1-1 series tie.
There were times when one wondered if Braden Holtby’s sick day might cost the Capitals big-time. Philipp Grubauer allowed three goals on a modest 21 shots for the Isles, but most importantly, he stopped all seven in the third period.
New York generated 2-0 and 3-1 leads that may or may not have instilled a false sense of security.
Ultimately, the Capitals’ biggest names made the difference. Alex Ovechkin notched a sigh-of-relief goal to close the gap to within one while Nicklas Backstrom’s three-point night included a nifty bit of one-against-all:
During about a 12-minute span from late in the second period to midway through the third, the Capitals scored three unanswered goals to turn the game on its head.
Chalk it up to score effects if you’d like, but the Capitals controlled much of the play, as you can see from this Natural Stat Trick graph.
Whatever way you slice it, the Capitals avoided a dire situation as this series is now locked at 1-1 with things switching to Long Island.
Most hockey fans know that Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is an All-Star-caliber player even though he’s never made such a team. Sometimes he needs to remind others why people hammer on that point.
The versatile Swede already has a goal and two assists in Game 2 for the Capitals, including this 3-3 goal in which he stupefied the New York Islanders’ penalty killers:
Yep, that’s pretty impressive.