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Capitals vs. Islanders Recap: Backstrom's OT Winner Ties the Series at Two

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Washington and New York played to a 1-1 tie through sixty minutes, setting the stage for Backstrom's overtime winner at the 11 minute mark.

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First-period goals from Alex Ovechkin and Casey Cizikas had the score knotted at one after the first period. 51 minutes of scoreless hockey would follow. That is, until Nicklas Backstrom tallied at the halfway through the first overtime to send the series back to Washington, tied at two games apiece.

Here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: The PK. Washington's penalty-killing unit held strong during 7:12 of play in the second period when they killed off three consecutive minor penalties. Aside from Tom Wilson's initial reaction after being whistled for a kneeing minor, the Capitals bit their tongues and got the job done. Really impressive stuff from Washington's four-man units.
  • Minus: The Islanders knotted the score at one goal apiece with only twelve seconds left to play in the first period. A poor line change allowed Cal Clutterbuck to walk into the offensive zone uncontested to set up Cizikas with a tap-in. A terrible time to execute a line change so poorly.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • The Capitals had to withstand a good opening twelve minutes of hockey from the Nassau Coliseum backed Islanders. Braden Holtby had to make several high quality saves to keep the roof from blowing off the building. Washington would settle in and begin to press offensively after killing of an Ovechkin tripping minor.
  • Less than 45 seconds after stepping out of the box, however, Ovechkin would tip home a John Carlson point shot to beat Jaroslav Halak stick side. The goal wouldn't have been possible without Backstrom's key offensive zone faceoff win.
  • The first period wouldn't end without heartache though, as Clutterbuck and Cizikas hooked up to tie the score at one at the 19:48 mark. Clutterbuck took a pass from Nick Leddy in the slot and fired a shot off of Holtby's right pad that Cizikas tapped into an open net.
  • Washington began the second period with a chip on its shoulder - led by Wilson and fellow forward Michael Latta. Their antics, especially the former's, got the Capitals into penalty trouble that had to be covered by their penalty killing teams. Wilson and Mike Green owe their teammates the Honest Abe top-hat.
  • You have to hope Lubomir Visnovsky will be alright after absorbing Wilson's second period hit beneath Halak's goal line. However, Pierre McGuire is a fool for condemning Wilson for "leaving his feet" on the collision before eating his own words upon video review. Too late for apologies Pierre, the reputation damage is already done.
  • Brooks Orpik is a tough American hockey player. He falls onto a skate blade late in the first period, skates himself to the dressing room without flinching, and steps over the boards and onto the ice before the drop of the puck in the third period.
  • The Capitals were outshot in the opening two period but outshot their hosts in the third period and overtime - the final 32 minutes of play. Holtby's 27 saves through two and his 36 tonight gave Washington the chance to take the series home all tied up.
  • New York's defense was put on their heels in the extra frame by the Capitals' attack, largely led by Ovechkin and Backstrom. Washington doubled up the Islanders' shots in overtime before cashing in on their seventh.
  • Backstrom, after another offensive zone faceoff win, grabbed the puck and shielded off John Tavares as he coasted to the blue line. Once alone above the slot Backstrom turned and fired a quick wrist shot through Joel Ward and Johnny Boychuk that found its way past Halak's shoulder.
  • Tonight's series tying victory was a complete team effort. Short of the power play unit, every group of Washington players had their hand in the victory. Backstrom and Ovechkin had game high two point outings, but it would have been all for naught without the performance alongside them.
  • The Capitals return home on Thursday night for Game 5. Thanks to their great effort tonight they have stolen home ice advantage back from the Islanders and will look to push New York to the brink of elimination.

    Game highlights: