Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - John Tavares scored 15 seconds into overtime to lift the New York Islanders to a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series on Sunday.
Off the opening faceoff of overtime, Johnny Boychuk blasted the puck into the Washington zone. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby gloved the shot and decided to move the puck to defenseman John Carlson, who tried to play the puck up the boards to a teammate.
The pass went right to New York's Nick Leddy at the left point and, with a Washington player closing in, fired a shot that was tipped by Nikolay Kulemin. Holtby made a nice save with his left pad, kicking the puck away, but Tavares was able to knock in the rebound.
"I saw Holtby wasn't as quick getting to the post and I was able to find a hole," said Tavares, whose goal sent the crowd at Nassau Coliseum into a frenzy.
"We have to make a better play," said Washington coach Barry Trotz. "We had options, we just didn't pick a good one."
Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves for the Islanders, who grabbed a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series. They will host Game 4 on Tuesday.
Holtby, back between the pipes after missing Game 2 with an illness, stopped 40 shots.
After mustering just 13 shots through two periods, the Capitals made a push in the third and took advantage of the extended time in the Islanders zone to tie it with 6:06 remaining. Nicklas Backstrom skated into the middle after taking a feed from Mike Green and fired a shot that Halak didn't see because of a screen in front by Alex Ovechkin.
The Islanders had a strong start as they fed off the energy of the boisterous crowd. They registered the game's first 10 shots and hit anything in a Washington sweater.
Capitals forward Eric Fehr was on the receiving end of a hard check into the boards by Kyle Okposo at the 3:11 mark. He skated off the ice and didn't return because of an upper-body injury.
The teams traded chances late in the first, with Tavares poking a rebound through Holtby and past the far post and Carlson hitting the crossbar.
New York got on the board with 7:23 left in the second period. Lubomir Visnovsky, who was shaken up on a hit from behind by Washington's Troy Brouwer earlier in the period, let go a shot from above the right circle that deflected off Okposo's leg in the slot and sailed past Holtby.
Boychuk helped preserve the lead, using his stick to break up a shot attempt by Ovechkin late in the second with the Capitals on a power play.
Tavares set a team record for fastest overtime goal at home in the playoffs ... Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play ... Philipp Grubauer was the backup goaltender for Washington after being called up from AHL Hershey to start Game 2.