Capitals Stun Islanders, 6-4, With Five-Goal Third Period; Alex Ovechkin Scores Eighth In Three Games

Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Despite trailing 4-1 in the third period, the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Islanders by a score of 6-4 at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The victory extended the Capitals’ lead for first in the Metropolitan Division by six points, though the Pittsburgh Penguins have a game in hand on them, and in the Eastern Conference by three points with each the Capitals and the Boston Bruins having 49 games under their belts now. Goaltender Braden Holtby made 18 saves in his first start this week while goaltender Ilya Samsonov made seven in relief in the third period.

Capitals’ Lines at Islanders

The Capitals made no line changes on forward or defense from their 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

First Period

Captain Alex Ovechkin buried one by the blocker of goaltender Semyon Varlamov with a wrister from the slot after receiving the puck from center Nicklas Backstrom, who was skating in at the right side, 10:22 into the game. The goal was Ovechkin’s sixth in three games and tied Mario Lemieux for 10th on the NHL’s all-time list with 690.

Forward Brock Nelson one-timed a shot from the slot after getting a feed from forward Anthony Beauvillier at the left dot to tie it at 13:11. The Capitals challenged the call but it backfired.

Center Casey Cizikas shot the puck off of defenseman Radko Gudas from the left circle and it squirted past Holtby to give the Islanders the lead with 4:11 left in the first.

The Capitals led 3-2 in blocked shots and didn’t on score on one power-play opportunity in the first.

The Islanders led 9-8 in hits, 4-3 in takeaways, had seven giveaways while the Capitals had eight, and failed to convert on three power-plays in the opening 20 minutes.

Each team shot the puck 11 times and won 50% of the draws in the first period.

Second Period

Forward Jordan Eberle banked a shot off of Holtby’s left pad at the goal-line on the power-play to extend the Islanders’ lead to 3-1 at 9:31.

Defenseman Devon Toews one-timed one through the five-hole of Holtby all alone in front after a give-and-go with forward Leo Komarov to make it 4-1 with 2:35 left in the period.

The Capitals led 18-17 in hits, had 11 giveaways while the Islanders had 12, didn’t convert on any of their four power-plays, and won 57% of the draws through 40 minutes.

The Islanders led 22-19 in shots, including 11-8 in the second, 10-5 in blocked shots, 8-3 in takeaways, and went one-for-four on the man advantage in the first two periods.

Third Period

Samsonov started the period for the Capitals.

Forward Carl Hagelin tapped in forward Richard Panik’s feed where he shifted from his back to his front into a wide open net for his second in as many games to cut the Islanders’ lead in half 2:32 into the third.

Ovechkin roared into the offensive zone, dangled around defenseman Scott Mayfield, and banked the puck off of defenseman Ryan Pulock’s skate and in while falling to make it 4-3. For the first time in Ovechkin’s career, he recorded multi-goal games in three straight.

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov’s shot went by Varlamov’s blocker and it leaked through with traffic and got a touch from forward Tom Wilson in front to tie the game with 5:28 remaining.

Forward Jakub Vrana ripped it past Varlamov’s blocker after getting the puck off an Islanders turnover in the defensive zone to give the Capitals’ the lead with 2:30 left.

Ovechkin made it 6-4 with an empty-netter from center-ice to earn his second consecutive hat trick with 56 seconds left. The goal moved Ovechkin into 10th all-time.

The Capitals led 30-29 in shots, including 11-7 in the third, 18-17 in hits, had 14 giveaways while the Islanders had 17, didn’t convert on any of their four power-plays, and won 56% of the draws.

The Islanders led 28-24 in hits, 21-7 in blocked shots, 10-4 in takeaways, and went one-for-four on the man advantage.

Samsonov earned his ninth straight road victory and tenth overall. The win also marked the Capitals’ seventh when trailing after two periods this season, which is the second-most in the NHL (Dallas Stars: eight).

Heading into today, the Islanders were 62-4-4 when leading by two goals under head coach Barry Trotz.

The Capitals are now on their bye-week and don’t play again until Monday, January 27, when they visit the Montreal Canadiens. Action from Bell Centre can be seen on NBC Sports Washington beginning at 7 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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