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Islanders can't hold late lead, lose to Caps in OT
Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winner just 2:07 into overtime to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Thomas Vanek put the Islanders on top on his goal with 1:51 remaining, but Nicklas Backstrom tied things up with 49 seconds to go to force the extra session.
Ovechkin skated along the right side and cut back to the middle of the ice before putting a shot on goal that was turned away. Moments later Ovechkin corralled a loose disc and successfully deposited it into the back of the net.
"We finally get the lead and instead of keep playing hard, we sat back for no reason," Vanek said. "We should have took it to them for 60 minutes, and not 59."
Aaron Volpatti also scored and Braden Holtby made 37 saves for the Caps, winners in two straight.
Cal Clutterbuck added a goal for the Islanders, losers in six straight and 11 of their last 13 games overall.
Anders Nilsson allowed all three goals on 30 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Volpatti got the Caps on the board. Tom Wilson was turned away by Nilsson from point-blank range, but the rebound bounced right to Volpatti, who easily punched it into the net.
Clutterbuck tied the game with his shorthanded goal at the 3:59 mark of the third. Clutterbuck controlled the puck after it bounced off the boards and skated in all alone before beating Holtby for a tie game.
Vanek's eighth goal of the season put New York ahead briefly. Vanek fired a shot from the left circle that bounced off Holtby, but after the puck bounced off several sticks, Vanek was there and ripped a quick shot for a 2-1 edge.
Backstrom, though, tied it up just over a minute later. Jason Chimera centered a pass to Backstrom, who was storming to the net, and he was able to get it past Nilsson to force overtime.
"That was a really good game right to the end. They got a big goal late, but we found a way," said Caps head coach Adam Oates.
Ovechkin notched his NHL-leading 21st goal of the season ... Washington will host Carolina on Tuesday ... The Islanders have been outscored 25-11 over their six-game skid ... New York will host Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
12/01 01:16:34 ET