Alex Ovechkin's goal with 3:05 left in overtime gave the Washington Capitals an improbable 2-1 win over the New York Islanders Tuesday night at the Verizon Center. Ovechkin's winner was a classic goal, as he broke into the New York zone, made a move around a defender, and backhanded the puck into the net to prompt an explosion of noise from a nearly-full house at the Verizon Center.
The Islanders drew first blood as the result of a turnover by Washington defenseman John Carlson, who was stripped of the puck at the Capitals' blue line by John Tavares. Tavares led P.A. Parenteau into the zone, and the right winger found Moulson with a simple little pass. Moulson completed the mini-2-on-1 by firing a wrist shot past Michal Neuvirth.
It appeared that would be the only goal of the game until, with 47.1 seconds remaining and Neuvirth pulled for an extra attacker, a centering pass from Capitals debutant Jason Arnott was redirected past Nathan Lawson by Brooks Laich.
The night had begun with great expectation as Washington's newly acquired trio of left wing Marco Sturm, Arnott, and defenseman Dennis Wideman made their debuts. But after a barnstorming first ten minutes that saw the Capitals outshoot the Islanders 10-1, Washington let their grip on the game slip away as the spirited Islanders began to find their footing and the puck refused to go into Lawson's net.
Not that the Caps didn't have golden opportunities. Early in the first, Sturm took a long lead pass from Ovechkin and broke into the Islander zone. His shot was saved by Lawson, though not completely, and the Verizon Center cut loose with the first of many agonized cries as the deflected puck tricked just past the post. Moments later, Arnott deflected a centering pass from Laich right into Lawson's pads.
In the second, the Capitals' profligacy in front of the net continued, as both Matt Bradley and Jason Chimera missed point-blank opportunities. Chimera's miss was particularly egregious, as he tried to backhand the puck into an open net with Lawson down on the ice and well out of position. Instead of hitting the target, Chimera's attempt passed harmlessly wide along the goal line.