Islanders blow lead again, but beat Caps in OT
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Finding ways to win at home has been an Islanders specialty this season. Squandering three-goal leads is a pattern New York would like to avoid.
Johnny Boychuk's power-play goal 2:52 into overtime lifted the Islanders over the Washington Capitals 4-3 after New York blew yet another three-goal edge on Monday night.
For the second straight game, and fourth in recent weeks, the Islanders let a three-goal lead get away. New York lost at Buffalo 4-3 on Saturday after jumping out in front.
This time, the Capitals stormed back in the third period on goals by Eric Fehr, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Braden Holtby stopped 35 shots.
But Evgeny Kuznetsov was given a double high-sticking penalty with 1:04 left in regulation, and Boychuk took advantage.
''We showed resilience, and thankfully got the win,'' Boychuk said. ''Even though momentum shifted, you can't get down. We did a good job trying to get the win, and we did.''
Boychuk's third goal gave the Islanders (24-11-1) their 14th home win, topping their total from last season. New York, 14-4 at home, snapped a two-game losing streak.
''Maybe this is a game we don't win last year,'' Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ''But we kept with it and found a way. You have to play structured hockey in this league, and our goaltender played really well to give us a chance to win.''
Anders Lee, Lubomir Visnovsky and Calvin de Haan also scored for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves in his return from injury.
The Islanders have won 11 of their last 13 home games.
''We get an energetic boost from our passionate fans,'' Islanders captain John Tavares said. ''We want to feed off that.''
The Capitals (18-11-7) lost for the second time in three games leading into the outdoor Winter Classic against Chicago on Thursday.
Lee opened the scoring at 8:15 of the first with his eighth of the season. Visnovsky's power-play goal at 10:06 of the second made it 2-0.
The Islanders made it a three-goal edge on de Haan's first goal of the season - a short-handed tally - at 1:41 of the third.
Halak improved to 19-6 in his return from a two-game absence caused by a lower-body injury. New York lost both games he missed.
The Capitals got going 4:40 into the third on Fehr's goal. Backstrom made it a one-goal game at 6:29 with his 12th of the season on a set up by Ovechkin, who then tied it with his team-leading 17th at 17:19.
''Our first two periods weren't good but we fought and came back,'' Ovechkin said. ''We have to be better earlier in games.''
The Islanders, who are heading out on a seven-game road trip, improved to 7-2-6 in their last 15 games against Washington.
They are 16-2-1 in games decided by one goal and 19-4-1 when they net at least three.
''With all the emotion in the building, we really wanted to send our fans off on a good note,'' Boychuk said. ''Our best chances come when you shoot the puck, and I heard the crowd yelling for me to shoot. Anything can happen when you do, and it did.''
The Capitals went 8-2-3 in December, with Holtby starting each game.
Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik had to be helped from the ice with 7:20 left in the third period after he appeared to injure his right knee in a collision with Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck.
NOTES: The teams will meet again Feb. 21 at Washington. ... The Islanders scratched defensemen Brian Strait and Matt Donovan and forward Eric Boulton. ... The Capitals scratched LW Andre Burakovsky and D Nate Schmidt.