Well, tonight was quite the game for the Caps. I watched the first period without being able to pay too much attention, unfortunately (had to watch the kids), but they didn't seem all that great. And the goal allowed was some pretty terrible defense (first on Shultz, who went down too early to try to block a shot, and then on the other players who were back, who didn't pick up for him. Perreault tried to help out on the back-check, but was too far away).
But when I saw the period summary, the Caps were ahead on shots and chances pretty comfortably, so I was feeling a lot better heading into the second. The second didn't start out too well, as the Islanders were ahead on shots 8-1 at one point, but they started coming around before it was over. At the end, the Caps were way behind on shots (though ahead for the game) but still ahead on chances.
So things were still looking decent heading into the third, despite being down a goal. But a barely-deflected shot got past Neuvy a couple of minutes in, leaving the chance of walking out with a victory very slim. And the Islanders were not content to sit back and play defense after scoring, either. The Caps were trying, but couldn't get much offense for quite a while. When Brouwer took a delay of game penalty with seven and a half left, it was getting pretty dire. They killed off that penalty without any great drama, and started to generate some offensive zone time, but nothing was getting past Nabokov.
But Perreault got the puck in the corner with three and a half left, and whipped it across the crease to Brouwer on the doorstep for an easy tip-in to bring it back within one.
They pulled Neuvy shortly thereafter, and weathered some very near misses by the Lon Gislanders. New York threw the puck over the boards (onto the bench) with half a minute remaining, giving the Caps an O-zone faceoff to try to win. Halpern got the puck back, with Wideman pushing it back to Laich. Laich's shot through a metric truckload of traffic deflected off Brouwer and into the short side of the net to send the crowd into pandemonium. Unsurprisingly, both teams pretty much played four corners ball to send the game into overtime at two apiece.
Not much happened in the first minute or so of overtime, but as the line changes were just going to turn the second shift into the third, OV was sprung down the left-hand side, with just one defender. I think he was trying his old, shoot between the legs so the defender is a screen, move, but put it inside the defender. It still fooled Nabokov five-hole, though, giving OV his... 11th? I think, career overtime goal.
It was quite the finish to what had been a pretty innocuous game for fifty-six minutes. And Troy got his only two goals of the month in regulation, there.
Neuvy had a very good game, with some great saves. And while the second goal deflected so little that I'd like to say he should have had it, he made plenty of excellent stops to make up for it.
Schultz had that one gaffe, but was good otherwise. Orlov had a couple of rookie plays, unfortunately, though he also did well at the end, when the chips were down.
This felt like an '09-10 game, where the Caps were always coming from behind in the third period and OT. I'm not sure I really want to return to those days (well, I didn't like their tendency to rely on doing that, but I did love their ability to do it), but it was great to see for one night. And to see them win when allowing more than one goal.
Can't celebrate it too much, especially with Florida also winning, but we'll hope they go into Friday's Devils game riding high.