Mike Green scored in the third period and set up Brooks Laich's overtime winner to give the Washington Capitals a stirring 3-2 comeback victory over the lowly New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Green started Washington's rally from a 2-0 hole in the third when he whistled a slap shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson at 6:02. Keith Aucoin got some help from the leg of Islanders forward Josh Bailey to tie it with 6:50 left before Laich's heroics.
Green raced the puck up ice and sent a floating pass across the crease to Laich, who deflected it past Roloson a minute into the extra session and sent the Capitals (6-2-2) to their fourth straight win.
The Islanders (1-4-4), who had the NHL's worst record last season, failed to protect a two-goal, third-period lead for the second straight home game. They managed to beat Carolina in shootout on Wednesday night for their lone win this season, but have left points on the table in several other contests in which they led late.
Washington has won three consecutive games in overtime on Long Island. Capitals star Alex Ovechkin ended both visits last season with extra-session goals. The NHL's leading scorer was shut down for most of Saturday before earning an assist on Aucoin's tying goal that was kicked in by Bailey.
Aucoin was credited with his first of the season. Jose Theodore finished with 28 saves to earn the victory.
Radek Martinek staked the Islanders to an early lead with a first-period, short-handed goal, and Jeff Tambellini made it 2-0 in the third with his first point of the season. That merely set up Washington's comeback.
The Islanders bucked a trend and got the jump on the Capitals, who haven't been used to falling behind.
During a Washington power play in which New York had the best scoring chances, Martinek broke through with his second of the season. Sean Bergenheim led a rush and sent a left-to-right pass to Frans Nielsen in the Capitals zone. Nielsen dropped the puck back to Martinek, who would up from the high slot and scored at 12:14.
It marked the second short-handed goal scored this season by the Islanders, both coming in the past two games. Washington has allowed two short-handed tallies and is suddenly struggling on the power play. They were 0 for 4 against New York after an 0 for 7 showing in a victory Thursday over Atlanta in which Ovechkin failed to record a point.
The Capitals had scored first in six straight games and in eight of their first nine. This was only the second time this season they didn't net a goal in the first period.
New York held a 10-5 shots lead through the first 20 minutes, but Washington bounced back in the second period with a 10-4 edge. The Capitals had three power-play chances, including a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 18 seconds.
They generated five shots during their power plays, but didn't score.
Tambellini pushed the Islanders' lead to 2-0 at 3:44 of the third when he deflected Blake Comeau's shot behind him at the left post and past a surprised Theodore.
Green, a defenseman who posted 31 goals last season, cut the deficit in half 2:18 later.
NOTES: New York has been outscored 16-6 in the third. ... The Capitals have outscored opponents 13-5 in the first. ... Islanders captain Doug Weight missed his second straight game because of the flu. The 38-year-old center has played in only five of nine contests.