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game recap

Islanders defeat Capitals in overtime in Game 3 of Eastern First Round

Barzal scores for New York at 4:28 to put Washington on brink of elimination

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Barzal's overtime winner

WSH@NYI, Gm3: Barzal wins it for Islanders in OT

R1, Gm3: Mathew Barzal speeds into the zone and backhands the puck past Braden Holtby into the net for the winning goal in overtime

  • 01:05 •

Mathew Barzal scored at 4:28 of overtime to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday.

Barzal won it when he took a pass from Jordan Eberle, skated in alone and tucked a backhand past Braden Holtby to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. 

"I run that play a little bit in practice, even in games, just try to sneak behind the defense a little bit," Barzal said. "[You have] to time it perfectly just on the blue line. Great heads-up play by [Eberle], great touch on the pass. I've had that play a few times this year and I've looked five-hole, looked short side. I decided to take this one far post and it paid off." 


[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Islanders highlights]


Anders Lee scored, and Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves for New York, the No. 6 seed in the East. 

Barzal's goal came moments after Varlamov made back-to-back saves against Jakub Vrana on a breakaway. 

"Your goalie's your eraser," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "Sometimes as a coach or a team, your goaltender can erase all your mistakes, and we made a couple of mistakes there, and [Varlamov] erased it. Getting it for him, I'll say it's good process where you want to reward your goalie for bailing you out, and you can bail him out with a win when you get that opportunity." 

Holtby made 32 saves for Washington, the No. 3 seed in the East. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a power-play goal. 

Teams that trail a series 3-0 are 4-190 (2.1 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series; the Capitals are 0-5.

New York can eliminate Washington in Game 4 in Toronto, the hub city for the East, on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, MSG, MSG+, NBCSWA). 

"I think just get the first game and see where it takes us. It's doable," Capitals forward Tom Wilson said. "Obviously, our backs are against the wall, but it starts with one (win). I expect guys to step up here and persevere through this. 

"We've got a little bit of adversity and it's time to pull together or we'll be out. So it is what it is."

Video: EA Sports OT Winner: Barzal's first career OT goal

The Islanders lead a best-of-7 postseason series 3-0 for the 11th time. They've won each of the prior 10, including seven sweeps, most recently last season in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

"For one, there's no tougher game than a game to clinch a series, and it's going to be no different in Game 4 here," Lee said. "It's going to be a tough, tough game. We played a good one tonight, and we were able to come out on top, but we've still got a lot of work to do to make this thing right." 

Video: WSH@NYI, Gm3: Lee's deflection gives Islanders lead

Lee scored for a third straight game when he redirected a feed from Adam Pelech at 14:50 of the first period to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.

Hotlby prevented New York from extending its lead when he made a glove save on Jean-Gabriel Pageau's breakaway at 4:10 of the second period. Kuznetsov then tied it 1-1 with a wrist shot from the right circle for a power-play goal at 5:50. 

Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov helped preserve the tie when he blocked Devon Toews' wrist shot from the slot with 2:56 remaining in the third period, and Holtby made a save against Brock Nelson with 24 seconds left. 

"I think we played a pretty solid game today," said Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who had an assist but was held to one shot on goal in 21:41. "We just didn't get [the] result, but I'm pretty sure the next game is going to be a different game for sure. 

"Obviously, for us right now it's nothing to lose, right? So we just have to go out there and play; don't think about the score in the series. We're going to take it game by game. [Like] I said, we have experience. A couple teams [have come back after losing the first three games] and we believe in ourselves." 

Video: WSH@NYI, Gm3: Kuznetsov nets PPG off scorched wrister

The Islanders were 0-for-5 on the power play and had six shots on goal. They are 1-for-14 in the series. 

Washington scratched defensemen Michal Kempny and Jonas Siegenthaler; they were replaced by Radko Gudas and Martin Fehervary. Center Brian Pinho made his NHL debut, replacing Travis Boyd. 

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (concussion protocol) missed his second straight game. 

"Nicklas is a great player, there is no doubt about that," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "You know that dealing with injuries, that is part of the game, and certainly you know him being a leader and top offensive player for us is difficult, but it is up to us to work on that and find solutions and guys that are banged up are not playing at 100 percent. 

"You've got to find ways to still be effective and put people in situations where they can have success, and we will continue to move things around until we can get that first win."

Video: Islanders win Game 3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

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