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by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 3

Capitals 2, Islanders 1

Ovechkin/Backstrom Too Much
Alexander Ovechkin scored the tying goal late in the second period and then had Nicklas Backstrom deflect his shot in for the winning goal with 3:39 left in the third as the Capitals rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Islanders 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 18,938 at Verizon Center in Washington.

Nino, Nino, Nino
Nino Niederreiter scored his first NHL goal off a pass from Doug Weight just 3:14 into play to give the Islanders the lead.  With the goal, Niederreiter became the 4th youngest player of the expansion era (and likely since World War II) to score an NHL goal.  Nino is 18 years, 35 days old.  The only younger players to score in the NHL were Grant Mulvey (18 years, 32 days), Jordan Staal (18 years, 32 days) and Patrick Marleau (18 years, 34 days).
It was the 751st career assist for Weight, passing Larry Robinson for 39th place in NHL history.  Weight’s first assist was on a Sergei Nemchinov overtime goal, for the Rangers, on October 5, 1991 – nearly a year before Nino was born.  Michael Grabner was credited with the second assist for his first point as an Islander.

Gillies vs. King

Nino’s goal came just seconds after Trevor Gillies’ first fight of the season; he squared off against DJ King in King’s first shift as a Capital.

Ovie Evens It

The Capitals had the better of the play in the second period and finally “Capital”-ized on it when Ovechkin beat Dwayne Roloson at 18:19 of the third. Ovechkin, who played in his 400th NHL game, now has a goal in all three Capital games this season.  Backstrom earned an assist on the goal for his first point of the season.  Roloson, making his first appearance of the season, celebrated his 41st birthday on Tuesday.  He is the oldest active goaltender in the NHL.

Backstrom Wins It
The Isles dominated for several stretches of the third period, but could not score.  Matt Moulson was stopped on a breakaway with 6:03 to play.  It was one of 12 third period saves, and 22 total for Michael Neuvirth in the Capital goal.  Neuvirth improved to 3-0-0 with the win and the NHL rookie is now 11-2-0 in his career at Verizon Center (and 14-6-0 overall).  With Blake Comeau off for an offensive zone roughing penalty, Backstrom, playing in his 250th game, tipped in Ovechkin’s shot for the winning goal. 2-1 Final.

Power Outage

The Backstrom goal was the only power play goal of the night.  Washington went 1-4 with the extra man while the Isles were 0-3 after going 5-13 in the prior two games.  The Capitals improved to a perfect 15-15 on the penalty kill this season as they held the Isles to only one shot with the man advantage.

In the Circle
Zenon Konopka had a huge game on draws, winning 16 of 20 (80%).  Doug Weight won 6 of 8 as the Isles won 37/63 overall.   Konopka has won an impressive 68% on the season (30 of 44); he is one of only four players in the league who have taken at least 15 face-offs to win over two-thirds of his draws.

The Long Road Ahead
This is the first game in a 15 game stretch that will find the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home.  Their three home games in that stretch are on October 16, October 29 and November 6.

Missing Men

The Isles, already without Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Rob Schremp for extended periods, played for the second straight game without John Tavares, who is also not expected to play on Friday in Pittsburgh.  James Wisniewski missed the first of two games due to a league suspension from his gesture towards the Rangers’ Sean Avery.  Jack Hillen replaced Wisniewski in the lineup.

NHL Accounting Lesson
The Capitals have beaten the Isles three straight times, including one in a shootout.  The Isles have not defeated Washington in regulation time since October 18, 2007; since then the Isles are 3-4-4 while the Capitals are 8-0-3.

Top 11 Club

(With thanks to Comcast Sports Net,) Dwayne Roloson is only the 11th goaltender to play in the NHL after his 41st birthday. Max Roberts and Johnny Bower both played at 45; Gump Worsley, Lester Patrick and Jacques Plante played at 44.  Dominik Hasek was 43 when he played his last game while Eddie Johnston was 42.  Three other goaltenders played their final game at 41: Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and George Hainsworth.

Season Series Stats  
This was the first of four meetings on the season and the Capitals now lead the series 1 game to none.  Mr. Ovechkin will be at the Coliseum on January 20th and February 26th while the Isles will return to DC on March 1st.

This Date in Isles History: October 13

Only one Islander goaltender has recorded a win on October 13th in the last 25 years; Garth Snow did the trick, in Washington, in 2005.   In 1973, Al Arbour and Denis Potvin made their Coliseum debuts; the Flyers beat the Isles 6-0.  Four years later, Mike Bossy scored in his first NHL game as the Isles lost to Buffalo 3-2.   In 1984, Bossy scored in overtime for a home-opener win over Chicago.

Up Next
Friday, October 15- Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins 7:00PM
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Isles were the Penguins’ final regular season opponent at the Mellon Arena last season; they will be the Penguins’ 4th opponent in the NHL’s newest building, the Consol Energy Center on Friday.  The Penguins will be desperate for a win against their division foes as they are 0-3-0 in their new home.

It’s the first of six meetings on the season between the squads; the Penguins took last season’s series 5 games to 1, but the Isles did manage points in all three Coliseum games (1-0-2).  It was a different story in Pittsburgh, where the Isles have lost eight straight and 11 of 12. 
The Isles’ newly-retooled defense will have their hands full. Pittsburgh scored 27 goals against the Isles last season.  Sidney Crosby recorded two games of at least five points – he’s the first player to do that against one opponent in 17 years, and finished with 17 points in the series (6 goals, 11 assists).

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources.

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