3-0 minutes into the second quarter, the Capitals barely held on. The New York Islanders dominated the game from the start, outscoring the game with shots and possessions while setting the tone with a couple of big hits to the body, including putting center Nick Dowd Withdrew from the game due to a lower body injury.
The Capitals have faced some early deficits before, but they have yet to pull back three or more goals, and their performances have been lackluster of late, especially on offense. They found inspiration anyway, tying the regular season at 3-3 before Dmitry Orlov’s game-winner in overtime sent the stunned Long Island crowd home.
Washington has done this to the Islanders before. The last three comebacks by the Capitals with three or more goals have come against them, most recently on Jan. 28, 2021, when they turned a 3-0 Islanders lead into a 6-3 Capitals lead. team victory. But as far as this season’s lineup goes, they’ve gotten into the habit of getting back into the game.
Including Monday’s victory, the Capitals have won 12 times this season when their opponent scores first — tying the most in the NHL with the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. They also won four times after trailing after two quarters and are tied for third in the league standings. With a veteran roster, the Capitals have shown they’re a tough team to shake off.
Of course, they’d love to be the leading team. The Capitals are 13-4-3 when scoring for the first time this season. But as they showed on Monday, even from behind, they can turn the tide. The turning point against the Islanders came at 6:34 of the second quarter, when Alex Ovechkin sent center Jean-Gabriel Pego to the rebound, prompting some shoving after the whistle.
From there, the Capitals scored four unsolved goals. They made a breakthrough on the scoreboard when Garnet Hathaway drove the puck through the legs of Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin. The offense then clicked, with Tom Wilson scoring his first goal of the season on a low shot and TJ O’shee tying it with a pinpoint deflection.
In plotting their biggest comeback of the season, the Capitals scored an important victory over a team that entered the night a close second in the standings. On a night when the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins all won, they strengthened their grip on the top spot in the Eastern Conference Wild Card standings.
The Capitals have a tendency to drop early goals, but they have shown the ability to keep their composure and get back on target like anyone.