WASHINGTON – The New York Islanders have quickly become experts at playing overtime. On Friday night, they became the first NHL team to play seven overtime games before Nov. 1. In their first six, they had just one win.
Thanks to Mark Streit’s goal 53 seconds into the extra period, the Islanders had their second overtime win and their third overall victory – 4-3 over the Washington Capitals.
It was the second straight win for New York. The Islanders also ended the Capitals’ winning streak at six.
“We were right on the cusp of getting some wins,” New York coach Scott Gordon said. “A lot of things have been coming together.”
One of those things was Streit’s goal. He beat Washington goalie Jose Theodore from about 10 feet for his second goal of the season and his first overtime goal.
“We kept it simple,” Streit said. “We needed an outstanding goalie to still be in the game.”
And Dwayne Roloson was outstanding. Washington lost despite dominating the action. The Capitals outshot the Islanders 40-30 and failed to convert numerous third-period scoring chances. Roloson turned away 17 shots in the third period.
“Without some of the saves he made, we wouldn’t have been in position to get a point,” Gordon said.
“Rollie stood on his head – so it was a great evening,” Streit said.
Gordon’s counterpart, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, wasn’t too pleased with his first line. Even though the Capitals opened the scoring on Alex Ovechkin’s NHL-high 14th goal of the season, it was the line’s only goal in 15 shots and came late in a four-minute high-sticking penalty on New York’s Kyle Okposo.
Ovechkin fired the puck past Roloson at 4:41 of the first period.
Boudreau has contemplated breaking up the Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin combination, and after Friday’s performance, he indicated that he may give it more serious consideration.
“They were way too fancy and way too cute,” Boudreau said. “They could have had four or five goals if they were sharp.”
Okposo tied the it at 10:37, skating through multiple Washington defenders and beating Theodore for his third goal of the season.
New York took a 2-1 lead after the Capitals’ Mike Green whiffed on a pass in front of his own net, losing the puck. That allowed the Islanders’ Frans Nielsen to recover it and score for a 2-1 lead at 7:12 of the second period.
A little more than 90 seconds later, with Washington’s Chris Clark behind New York’s net. Roloson chased him and Clark shovelled the puck to Tomas Fleischmann, who tucked it into the corner of the net to tie it at two.
Fleischmann, who was playing in just his second games after missing the first 11 games with a blood clot in his left leg, scored his second goal on a tip-in at 16:43 to give Washington a brief 3-2 lead. Sixty-three seconds later, Nielsen scored his second goal – to tie it at three. It was the first two-goal game of his career.
Capitals forward Brendan Morrison felt his team had been lucky during their streak, and wasn’t surprised with the loss.
“A lot of these games we’ve escaped,” Morrison said. “We just didn’t put them away when we had the chance.”
NOTES: Washington LW Quintin Laing (swine flu) and RW Eric Fehr (sore ribs) missed their second straight games. … Roloson started his second game in a row – the first New York goalie to play consecutive games this season. … Green had two assists – his eighth straight game with a point. … Ovechkin has 117 goals at home and 116 on the road. … Six of the last eight games between the teams have been decided in overtime.