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Islanders 2, Capitals 1 (OT): Barzal’s beautiful moves put Washington on the brink

The Islanders executed their game plan perfectly again. Washington seemingly has no answer at even strength.

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The better team in this series also has a 3-0 lead. Sometimes, things work out like they’re supposed to. And man, is it nice to root for a team that does all the things it’s supposed to.

The Islanders defeated the Capitals 2-1 in overtime this early afternoon to put Washington on the brink of elimination.

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First Period: The Better Start They Were Looking For

Anders Lee mentioned previously that in Game 3, he was looking for his team to start better. They conceded the first goal and fell behind in both Games 1 and 2. His team responded, dominating the game right out of the gate. And the captain took control of the scoring himself, with a little help from the birthday boy, Adam Pelech.

With the Islanders pressuring in the Capitals’ zone, Braden Holtby made a few beautiful saves to steer the puck into the corner. Lee won the board battle and got it out to Ryan Pulock at the point, who got it across the blue line to Pelech. Pelech had a lot of room to slide down from the blue line. Lee parked himself next to the crease and slammed his stick on the ice. Pelech gave him a perfect, tape-to-tape shot-pass that Lee was able to direct in behind Holtby.

The first period was all Islanders. With the Caps chasing the play, they took three penalties. The Islanders had some decent looks on their power plays, but the Capitals have a strong penalty kill and it showed.

Second Period: Special Teams Advantage for Washington

The Islanders still controlled the pace as the second period started, but T.J. Oshie barreled through three or four Islanders on a zone entry and Jordan Eberle took a penalty to give Washington its first man advantage.

:40 into the power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov used a screen by Tom Wilson, and perhaps Pelech to rifle a shot over Semyon Varlamov. He, of course, flapped the Dirty Bird celebration, but he didn’t look as happy as he usually does for it.

The successful power play spurred the Caps a little bit and they took control of the game for about five minutes after that. But the Islanders quickly turned back the tide to regain control and they really didn’t let go of it for the rest of the game.

Third Period: Tight Game, No Goals

The Islanders played a tight checking game in the third, but they weren’t playing risk-averse. The defenders were still jumping up into the play.

The aggressive style had the Capitals on their heels and they only recorded four shots-on-goal. To overtime we went.

Overtime: Barzal’s Time

The Capitals didn’t have much going on during overtime. I think Alex Ovechkin had his only shot of the game right off the opening face-off of overtime.

The one chance Washington had was when Jakub Vrana took an Andy Greene shot to the skate and took off on a breakaway the other way. However, Varlamov was there to stop the initial shot and the rebound.

Not long after that, Derick Brassard (who had a strong game) won a board battle in his own zone and sent the puck across the ice to Eberle. Eberle skated into the neutral zone and saw Mathew Barzal cheating at the Washington blue line.

John Carlson and Brenden Dillon never saw him and Barzal, who wisely kept his skate on the blue line until the puck crossed over, skated down to the goal line and put a gorgeous deke on Holtby to come across the crease and deposit the puck in for the win.

Up Next

The Islanders have the chance to complete the sweep on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT.