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Game 2: Washington Capitals 4, New York Islanders 3 - Caps' surge evens series

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The Islanders had a 3-1 lead, but didn't quite deserve it and ultimately paid for their underwhelming play.

Stumble, crash.
Stumble, crash.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The New York Islanders lost Game 2 to the Washington Capitals and deserved to.

Though they outshot the Caps in the first period, and at one point in the second period had a 3-1 lead, the Capitals were the better team throughout and their good fortune -- two comeback goals came while Islanders players were stuck with broken sticks -- were advantages well utilized.

The Isles outshot Washington 7-5 in the first period, but that included a bushel of blocked shots that please coaches and announcers but are not a recipe for long-term success, particularly when beginning in the first period. In reality, the Islanders were arguably outplayed for three periods even if the scoreboard initially hinted otherwise.

Cal Clutterbuck opened scoring with a brilliant top-corner shot on a two-on-one, Ryan Strome made it 2-0 early in the second on a high-slot one-timer setup from John Tavares, and Kyle Okposo answered the Capitals' first goal with a great top-corner shot of his own.

When it was 3-1 at 14:09 of the second on Okposo's goal, it was reasonable to expect, or hope, the Islanders would turn things around and start pushing play, perhaps continue to take advantage of rookie emergency starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer. But it only got worse, and the Capitals turnover machine stopped spitting out gifts.

Grubauer ended up being his best in the third period (not that he was tested any more there than in the first two periods), the Capitals worked the puck smartly when first Matt Martin and later Okposo were caught in the defensive zone with broken sticks, and the Capitals choked out any hope of a comeback nearly as well as the Isles did in Game 1.

Even still, Nicklas Backstrom's tying goal at 3:44 came on the Capitals' only power play, an excellent play in which he lulled the Isles foursome into leaving him space in the slot to pull out of passing position and rip a wrister past Jaroslav Halak. And Jason Chimera (Jason Chimera! Game 1's duncecap winner!) scored the game-winner at 7:37 after an uncharacteristic giveaway by Nick Leddy.

The series is tied 1-1, and there's a quick turnaround for its next chapter: Sunday at high noon at Nassau Coliseum.

[ Box | Game Sum | Event Sum | Fancy/Shifts: War-on-Ice - Natural Stat Trick - HockeyStats.ca || Recaps: | Isles | NHL |

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