WASHINGTON 2 ISLANDERS 1: Late goal, Ovechkin's highlight OT tally result in fourth loss in a row

9:50 pm: Just as you’re about to sit down to write about a possible Islanders shutout, Alexander Ovechkin paints a masterpiece.

In his spectacular overtime goal that gave the Capitals a 2-1 win tonight, it must be pointed out that it was Frans Nielsen that Ovechkin turned inside out twice. This is not a knock on Nielsen, far from it. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to an extraordinary talent.

Otherwise, this was one of those affairs that prove why you do not bet on NHL games. It’s not because the Islanders were leading for more than 59 minutes and pulled out a point against a top team on the road, mind you. Jack Capuano’s team has played well since the All-Star break and is having fun with the role of the spoiler. The Capitals were shut out in their last home game as well, and are down a full goal per game from last season.

Nathan Lawson shook off the rust and played superbly. Somewhat improbably, the Capitals missed on two dunk shots in the third period. The home team game operations staff was so surprised by the second one, with around eight minutes left in regulation, that they sounded the goal horn.

The Capitals out-shot the Islanders, 42-29, but the visitors created more scoring chances in the third period. Do not discount Michael Neuvirth’s outstanding performance in the Washington net.

The biggest disappointment for the Islanders came on Brooks Laich’s game-tying goal with 48 seconds left in regulation and Neuvirth pulled for an extra attacker. Michael Grabner had time and enough space along the boards, ten feet inside the Washington blue line, to clear the puck. Grabner took the long way to make the play, and he and the Islanders paid for it.

Kudos to Lawson. Also to Matt Moulson, who scored his 28th goal of the season. All in all, a decent effort as the Islanders lost their fourth game in a row to remain in 14th place, 14 points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. It was a wild route to get there – capped off by Ovechkin’s magnificent one-man goal – but the Islanders probably got what they deserved: one point.

The Islanders are now home for five straight games, including four against teams currently out of a playoff position.

Comments on tonight’s game are welcomed. More tomorrow.