|(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)|
With new members aboard, Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm and Dennis Wideman, the Caps came out with a some renewed energy as they face the Islanders in the second game of a home and home. But they could not convert on 11 shots in the first and 17 shots in the second period. It looked as if the Islanders would survive the early barrage of shots and wait for the Caps to make a mistake.
That mistake would happen in the second period when a tired line and a tired John Carlson turned over the puck int he neutral zone leading to a three on one the other way. Michal Neuvirth, who played spectacularly all game, could not stop them all as the Isles would take the 1-0 lead.
The Caps' offense then countered with a series of missed opportunities. It didn't seem to matter how pretty the play was or how open the shooter was, pucks were shot wide, pucks bounced off sticks or plays were broken up by the Islanders defense. A last ditch effort by the Caps late in the third with Neuvirth pulled would turn the game around. New comer Jason Arnott found an open Brooks Laich in front of the net, and Laich's tip in tied it with just 48 seconds left in the game.
Cue the overtime dramatics by Alex Ovechkin. On his first shift of the overtime period picked up a turnover inside his own zone on the half wall, deked a Islander defender that was turned around on the play and cut up the ice on the right side to back hand the game winner past Nathan Lawson. His goal came unassisted.
The newly acquired players seem to add some chemistry early on. The Caps were making plays, had chances and were getting good shots to the net. As the season winds down, the chemistry should get even stronger. All three, Arnott, Wideman and Sturm had a shot in the first period. Sturm had a great chance in the first on the break away but couldn't convert, Arnott had a chance on a tip in front that nearly went in.
Nick Backstrom did not have a strong game as he continues to struggle to create offense. He took two bad penalties in the third period that put a damper on the Caps trying to rally. He was on the bench when the Caps pulled their goaltender in the waning moments of the game.
The Caps looked good through the first period and a half. They faced a good Islander team that was determined not to let the Caps get back into this one a second game in a row. Neuvirth took home the game's third star, but he kept his team in it making some ten bell saves on penalty kills in the third period.