Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Chimera tallied the deciding goal in the early portion of the third period, as Washington rallied from two goals down twice to capture a 4-3 decision over the Islanders in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
Nicklas Backstrom contributed a goal and two assists for the Capitals, while regular-season goal-scoring champion Alex Ovechkin added his first marker of the postseason for the hosts.
Subbing for the ill Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer was recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League and made his NHL playoff debut a successful one, stopping 18 shots.
"I just liked his demeanor," Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said. "I can't put myself in those shoes. That is the great trait of a goalie. You are not so overwhelmed by the moment or the situation."
The 23-year-old native of Germany became the third rookie netminder in club history to win a playoff debut in regulation, joining Bob Mason (1987) and Olaf Kolzig (1995).
Cal Clutterbuck, Ryan Strome and Kyle Okposo lit the lamp for New York, which wasted leads of 2-0 and 3-1 and as a result fell even in this best-of-seven set. Jaroslav Halak took the loss despite making 31 saves.
Game 3 shifts to Long Island on Sunday afternoon.
"When you are in the playoffs you have to have a short memory; you move past it and move on to the next game," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "You can't think about it now, you have got to get ready for Game 3."
Backstrom evened the score on a power play at 3:44 of the third, moving between all four Islanders checkers on a rush up the middle and scoring from the high slot.
Chimera then put the Caps on top for the first time all series with 7:37 elapsed, following up a Matt Niskanen rebound and scoring from the right circle as three New York backcheckers stood waiting for a shot to hit them en route to Halak.
The Islanders tried an extra attacker in the final 1:17 of regulation but failed to produce a quality chance to draw even.
Things were much different at the outset for the visitors, trying to build off a 4-1 decision in Game 1 which took away the Caps' home-ice edge.
Clutterbuck welcomed Grubauer to the postseason with a top-shelf wrister from the left wing off a 2-on-1 just 5:14 in, only the second Islanders shot of the contest.
Strome made it 2-0 at 3:24 of the second on a one-timer from between the circles off a dish from John Tavares.
Washington finally came alive on a shift more than halfway through regulation, capping almost a minute of puck control with Mike Green feeding Alzner for a blistering shot from the right circle at 11:26.
Okposo countered after another strong Caps shift in the offensive zone, beating Grubauer high from the right wing for a 3-1 game at 14:09, but Ovechkin tapped in a Niskanen rebound at the left post to make it a one-goal game again exactly two minutes later.
Backstrom hadn't scored since Feb. 19 and his three points marked his greatest single-game output since a three-point effort (2G, 1A) against the Jets that same contest ... Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic was scratched for a second straight time due to an undisclosed injury suffered at the end of the regular season ... Washington improved to 10-6 all-time in Game 2s when dropping the first game of a playoff series ... The Islanders collectively blocked 27 shots, including 15 in the first period while permitting just five to reach Halak.