Video: Tavares, Islanders take 2-1 series lead with OT win

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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.

Video: Backstrom nets the equalizer, forces OT

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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.

Washed over: Caps control Isles, tie series 1-1

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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.

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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.

Video: Nifty work from Nicklas Backstrom

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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.

Isles impress, take 1-0 series lead against Capitals

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Five years ago, Jaroslav Halak frustrated the Washington Capitals to a stunning first-round loss. He has a lot more help this time around with the 2014-15 New York Islanders, yet you can forgive some Caps fans if Wednesday brought back bad memories.

The Islanders topped the Capitals 4-1 to take a 1-0 series lead, and while Brock Nelson’s second goal inflated the difference in the form of an empty-netter, the Islanders looked awfully impressive.

In fact, they carried much of the play, as you can see from this Natural Stat Trick graph:

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The Islanders didn’t really see their play drop off much, even when they had a comfortable lead. That has to be a wake-up call for Washington, and perhaps a message to the rest of the East: a team that looked like a powerhouse may not be slumping as much as some think.

It’s hard to imagine Alex Ovechkin being kept off the scoreboard every night, mind you, although it will be interesting to see if Barry Trotz continues to try to get balanced offense by splitting him from common running mate Nicklas Backstrom.

The two teams meet again for Game 2 at the Verizon Center on Friday, so the Caps need to shake off this setback or they’ll be in quite the early hole.