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Ovechkin powers Capitals to season-saving Game 4 win; No sweep for Islanders

Alex Ovechkin strikes twice and Evgeny Kuznetsov nets a goal and assist as Washington rallies from an early 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 and stave off elimination.

Things looked dire for the Capitals in Game 4, but Alex Ovechkin and the team’s potent power play triggered a season-saving comeback against the Islanders. The Capitals ended up winning Game 4 by a score of 3-2, leaving the Islanders with a 3-1 series lead.


Ovechkin, Capitals power play turns Game 4; Tom Wilson’s latest questionable hit vs. Islanders

Through the first 20 minutes, it sure looked like the Capitals wanted to be anywhere but the bubble. With their season on the line, the Capitals took Game 4’s first three penalties and looked lethargic as the Islanders went out to a 2-0 first-period lead.

Then quite a bit of chaos broke out during the second period. Both teams continued to parade to the penalty box, and the Capitals seized the opportunity of less five-on-five play to tie things up 2-2 on goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin.

That second period included two common Capitals sights. The first was Ovechkin scoring a power-play goal from “his office.” The second involved another questionable boarding hit by Tom Wilson, this time on Scott Mayfield:

The Capitals carried much of the play, holding the Islanders without a shot on goal for more than 14 minutes from the second period to the third. Alex Ovechkin then found some open space and scored the 3-2 goal against Semyon Varlamov.

You might look at a tale of two games in Mathew Barzal’s night. To start Game 4, Barzal was involved in the Islanders taking a lead, including scoring a goal against the Capitals. Yet, during that third period, Barzal was seen shaking his head after taking two penalties.

While this is just one game, Barry Trotz might want to preach patience to his team. As much as a physical style benefits the Islanders, frequent trips to the penalty box behoove the Capitals. Game 4 showed that much, and also that Alex Ovechkin can still make a game-changing difference.

With 69 career playoff goals, Ovechkin now ranks 18th all-time, ahead of two unfamiliar fellows named Sidney Crosby and Gordie Howe.

No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Islanders (NYI lead 3-1)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Islanders 4, Capitals 2 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Islanders 5, Capitals 2 (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 16: Islanders 2, Capitals 1 (OT) (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Capitals 3, Islanders 2
Thursday, Aug. 20: NY Islanders at Washington – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Washington at NY Islanders – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: NY Islanders at Washington – TBD

*if necessary

Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.