Barzal’s OT goal puts Islanders on verge of sweeping Capitals

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Mathew Barzal‘s goal 4:28 into overtime gave the Islanders a 2-1 win and a 3-0 series lead over the Capitals.

The Washington defense allowed the speedy Barzal behind them and he skated in and went forehand-to-backhand to beat Braden Holtby for the winner. There was a brief look at the goal for potential offside, but the Islanders forward kept his skate on the blue line just as he received Jordan Eberle‘s pass.

The Islanders will go for the eighth sweep in franchise history Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

“Ebs just made a heckuva read just trying to find a lane behind the D, figured I had a step,” Barzal said afterward.

Moments before Barzal scored, Jakub Vrana had two chances on a breakaway to give the Capitals the win. Both were stopped by Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 22 saves.

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It’s no surprise looking at this series why the Islanders are up 3-0 in the series. Game 3 was another dominating performance by them at even strength. They own the advantage in possession, expected goals, and high-danger scoring chances. Defensively, Varlamov has a .961 5-on-5 save percentage and they’ve done a great job at limiting Washington’s opportunities to mainly outside the slot.

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Alex Ovechkin was also held in check, recording only a single shot, which didn’t come until early in overtime. After the game, the Capitals captain was not ready to throw in the towel.

“You just have to move on,” he said. “I know it’s a hard situation, but it’s not over yet.”

“Obviously our backs are against the wall, but it starts with one,” added Tom Wilson.

No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Islanders (NYI lead 3-0)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Islanders 4, Capitals 2 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Islanders 5, Capitals 2 (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 16: Islanders 2, Capitals 1 (OT)
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

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.