Capitals 3, Islanders 2 (OT)

Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Left winger Alex Ovechkin's goal with 2:53 left in overtime Saturday night capped a stunning comeback win by the Washington Capitals and lifted them past the New York Islanders 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum.
The Capitals appeared headed for defeat when Islanders left winger Thomas Vanek scored with 1:51 left to give New York a 2-1 lead. Washington pulled goalie Braden Holtby almost immediately but had to bring him back when defenseman Mike Green was whistled for interference.
A mere 21 seconds later, Washington tied it on center Nicklas Backstrom's goal off a pass from left winger Jason Chimera.
Ovechkin's goal, off a pass from center Mikhail Grabovski, threaded a trio of players in front of the net and whistled past Islanders goalie Andres Nilsson to give the Capitals (14-11-2) their second straight win.
The Islanders (8-16-3) earned their first point since Nov. 16 but have lost six in a row (0-5-1) and finished November 4-10-1. They are 9-24-6 in November since 2010.
Left winger Aaron Volpatti scored in the second period for the Capitals while right winger Cal Clutterbuck scored in the third period for the Islanders.
Holtby had 37 saves while Nilsson, making his first NHL start since March 10, 2012, had 27 saves.
Neither team scored in the first period, which ended with a multi-player scrum in front of the Capitals' net after Holtby shoved Islanders right winger Colin McDonald with his stick.
The Capitals snapped the tie 8:58 into the second when Volpatti jabbed a rebound past Nilsson. The goal was set up by a wraparound pass from right winger Martin Erat to right winger Tom Wilson, who took three shots at Nilsson before Volpatti finally finished off the flurry.
The Islanders squandered multiple chances to tie the game later in the period. Right winger Kyle Okposo wound up for a shot but missed the puck and center John Tavares, trailing the play, failed to put back a pair of rebounds.
Right winger Michael Grabner was hooked by Capitals center Jay Beagle on the Islanders' next possession, but the Islanders failed to score on the power play despite firing five shots at Holtby. Okposo had the last shot in the rally but the puck skittered across the back of the goalmouth and exited out the left side.
The Islanders finally tied on Clutterbuck's short-handed goal 3:59 into the third period. Defenseman Andrew MacDonald cleared the puck out of the Islanders' zone and center Casey Cizikas, who was draped by Capitals right winger Joel Ward and defenseman Mike Green, tapped it to a surging Clutterbuck, who outraced all three players and beat Holtby with a wrister.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Capitals recalled G Philipp Grubauer from Hershey of the AHL and sent C Michael Latta to the same affiliate. Grubauer replaces G Michael Neuvirth, who injured his right leg during warmups before Friday's game against Montreal. With Neuvirth out, the Capitals' backup goaltender on Friday was their video coach, Brett Leonhardt. ... In addition to Neuvirth, the Capitals also scratched C Brooks Laich, D Steve Olesky and D Alexander Urbom. Laich missed the last two games with a lower-body injury while Olesky and Urbom were healthy scratches. ... The Islanders had a trio of healthy scratches -- LW Eric Boulton, D Radek Martinek and C Brock Nelson. ... D Calvin de Haan, whom the Islanders recalled from AHL Bridgeport on Thursday, appeared in his first NHL game since his debut Dec. 15, 2011. He missed most of last season due to a shoulder injury. ... The Islanders and Capitals are division rivals this season for the first time since 1997-98, the year before the Capitals were shifted from the Atlantic Division to the Southeast Division.

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