(SportsNetwork.com) - The sizzling New York Islanders will try to complete a home-and-home sweep of the Washington Capitals when the Metropolitan Division rivals meet Friday at the Verizon Center.
The Islanders picked up their fifth straight win on Wednesday, taking the opener of this series with a 3-2 overtime victory against the visiting Capitals. It also was the 10th victory in the past 11 games for New York, which enters today tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the division.
Another victory on Friday would give the Isles their first six-game winning streak since Feb. 12-21, 2008.
John Tavares notched a power-play goal with 24 seconds remaining in OT to help the Isles beat Washington for only the second time in the past six meetings. New York does own a 3-1-2 mark over the last six encounters in D.C.
Washington's Alex Ovechkin tied the game at 2-2 with a power-play tally late in the second period and the score stayed that way until Tavares ended the contest late in the extra session.
The Isles went on the power play after Nicklas Backstrom was sent off for holding the stick at 2:38 of OT. As time wound down in the advantage, Ryan Strome circled on the left wing from the goal line back into the circle and dished across to the New York captain. Tavares waited until a Capitals defenseman slid, then moved towards the hashmarks before scoring on a wrister.
"It kind of just skipped up and I saw the guy coming at me so I just tried to make a fake on him and freeze him," said Tavares. "I got around him and saw the far side there low and just tried to hit the spot."
Anders Lee and Travis Hamonic supplied additional offense for New York, with Strome chipping in two assists. Jaroslav Halak came up with 25 saves for the win.
Halak improved his career record against the Capitals to 4-4-0 and he could get the start again tonight. He also owns a lifetime 2.76 goals against average versus Washington. Halak had a brief tenure with the Capitals, suiting up in 12 games for Washington last season after coming over in a trade with Buffalo.
Ovechkin picked up both scores for the Capitals, giving the four-time "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner 11 goals on the season. The Russian superstar played in his 700th NHL game on Wednesday and has 433 goals and 401 assists in his standout career.
Braden Holtby played well in defeat, making 32 stops, and Backstrom added a pair of assists.
"The start wasn't great, but after that I thought we went toe-to-toe with them," said Capitals coach Barry Trotz.
Holtby is 5-1-1 with a 2.07 GAA in seven career games against the Isles.
Both the Capitals and Isles will be in action tomorrow, with Washington visiting Toronto and New York returning home to face the New Jersey Devils.