A three-goal third period helped the Islanders take Game 1 of their First Round series over the Capitals, 4-2.
Washington had earned a 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of power play goals from T.J. Oshie, but New York’s possession dominance eventually brought the goals.
The comeback began when Jordan Eberle cut the lead to 2-1 late in the second period. The opening 12 minutes of the third continued to be all Islanders. Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier all scored, putting the Capitals on their heels.
Bailey’s first of the postseason was an especially tough one for Washington as it came shorthanded following a miscommunication between Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals goaltender caught a Brock Nelson dump in but his pass attempt to Ovechkin didn’t go as planned, allowing Nelson to steal it and find Bailey in front to give New York a 3-2 lead.
Beauvillier continued his hot run with his fourth goal of the postseason five minutes later to double the lead. Washington continued to chase the game, and their efforts came to an end when Tom Wilson took a holding call with their net empty and under a minute to play.
“In the third period we can’t start like that,” Ovechkin said. “We get the lead, we just have to play our game. We stop playing and you can see result.”
The Capitals dropped the game and lost a key player as well. Nicklas Backstrom took a hit from Lee just two minutes into the game. He played 7:21 in the first period, but did not return to the game. That hit led to Lee dropping the gloves with both John Carlson and Wilson on separate occasions.
Islanders head coach Barry Trotz defended his player.
“Anders is making a hockey play,” he said. “I don’t know if Nick [Backstrom] was ready or not. Anders is a strong guy. The hit was made and they responded. He and Wilson fought and that was probably the end of it. We’ll see.”
The Capitals were obviously not happy with Lee’s hit and the outcome.
“It was a late hit on a player who wasn’t expecting it. It was predatory,” said head coach Todd Reirden, who did not have an update on Backstrom.
“It looked extremely late,” said Oshie. “In the frame I saw there wasn’t even a puck and it still looked late.”
“It looked real dirty to me,” said Carlson.
Game 2 is Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
UPDATE: Reirden said Thursday that Backstrom will miss Game 2 as he is currently in concussion protocol.
No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Islanders (NYI lead 1-0)
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Islanders 4, Capitals 2
Friday, Aug. 14: NY Islanders at Washington, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: Washington at NY Islanders, 12 p.m. ET – USA Network
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Washington at NY Islanders, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Thursday, Aug. 20: NY Islanders at Washington – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Washington at NY Islanders – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: NY Islanders at Washington – TBD