The Capitals blew a 3-1 lead in the third period and Braden Holtby now must wait to share a spot in NHL history with one of the greatest goaltenders of all time.
Holtby stopped 23 of 27 shots and surrendered the overtime game-winner with 2:13 gone in the extra period when Thomas Hickey roofed a John Tavares pass under the crossbar for the game-winner.
The 4-3 victory clinched a playoff berth for the Islanders, who now have 97 points. The Capitals received two goals from Alex Ovechkin and another by T.J. Oshie.
Holtby remains stuck at 47 wins with a 47-9-5 record, one win shy of Martin Brodeur for the most wins in a single season in NHL history.
With three more games remaining in the regular season, Holtby will get his next chance to tie the record Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit Verizon Center.
MORE CAPITALS: LATTA DROPS THE GLOVES VS. ISLANDERS
How it happened: The Capitals opened the scoring 4:29 into the game when Alex Ovechkin snapped a shot from the right circle past rookie goaltender Christopher Gibson, who was making his first NHL start. The Islanders tied it 13:43 into the second period on a bullet from John Tavares past Holtby’s catching glove. The Capitals grabbed a 3-1 lead on goals by T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin, only to see the Isles scramble their way back into the game with back-to-back goals by Kyle Okposo and Anders Lee just 1:45 apart.
Ovi on a mission: Alex Ovechkin added Gibson to the long list of goalies he has victimized in his 11 NHL seasons. His two-goal evening gives him 47 goals with three games to play. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals and is three goals away from reaching 50 goals for the seventh time in his career.
Latta punches: Michael Latta returned to the lineup after a 20-game absence and contributed by fighting defenseman Scott Mayfield in the first period after Mayfield shoved Mike Richards into the boards.
Battered blue line: Already without Travis Hamonic the Isles blue line took another hit when Brian Strait left the game with an upper body injury and did not return.
What’s ahead: The Caps will have the day off on Wednesday and will face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday. They close out the regular season by visiting the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and hosting the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.
Tom Wilson scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom recorded four helpers and the assistant coaches chipped in with a big assist in Montreal, where the Caps earned a 6-4 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.
The win was Washington’s third in a row and seventh in eight games as they close in on another Metro Division title. Caps Coach Barry Trotz, meantime, claimed victory No. 200 in Washington; his next win will equal Bruce Boudreau for second all-time in franchise history.
Tarik’s three stars of the game:
1-Tom Wilson, Capitals
Wilson’s all-around game continues to blossom…and the Caps’ big winger continues to fill up the scoresheet. At Bell Centre, he scored back-to-back goals less than four minutes apart in the first period to put the Caps in command. Wilson also missed an empty net in the closing seconds by just a few inches. The soon-to-be 24-year-old now has 13 goals—six more than his previous career high.
2-Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals
Backstrom notched four assists and, as usual, he did it quietly. And they weren’t cheapies—three of the four helpers were of the primary variety. Backstrom, who has four goals and 12 assists in his last 12 games, has now notched four or more points 20 times in his career. It was also his 11th-career four assist game.
3-Leonhardt and Ohashi, Capitals
That’s right, I’m giving the third star to assistant coaches Brett ‘Stretch’ Leonhardt and Tim Ohashi. They quickly spotted that the Habs were offside on their second goal. And, after a coach’s challenge, the refs agreed. Instead of 2-0, it remained 1-0 and the Caps took full advantage of their second chance, scoring the game’s next four goals.
Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments.
What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.
Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.
WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME?
The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.
WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME ON?
The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)
6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-CANADIENS GAME?
You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.
CAPITALS-CANADIENS OPEN THREAD
Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans.
For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.