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Capitals blow lead, fall to lowly Islanders, 4-3 in overtime

The Capitals fall 4-3 in overtime.

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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 31, 2009

For the better part of two weeks, the Washington Capitals had been eking out wins over opponents they should have beaten convincingly.

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On Friday night, it caught up to them on home ice against one of the league's worst clubs.

The Capitals surrendered a one-goal lead late in the second period, then defenseman Mark Streit of the New York Islanders hammered a shot past goaltender José Theodore 53 seconds into overtime to hand the Capitals a humbling, miscue-riddled 4-3 defeat.

The victory was only the Islanders' third of the season and it halted Washington's six-game wining streak, stunning a capacity crowd at Verizon Center.

"A lot of these games we've escaped," veteran center Brendan Morrison said. "We haven't played our best hockey. I think what we have to worry about is the process -- how we're winning games. If we go about that the right way, we'll come out on top most nights."

Winger Tomas Fleischmann, in his second game back from a blood clot in his leg, scored two goals, the second of which came on the power play and gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead with 3 minutes 17 seconds remaining in the second period.

But instead of building on that edge, the Capitals gave the goal right back when Frans Nielsen scored his second goal of the game from the top of the circles with an ordinary-looking wrist shot that appeared to fool Theodore. It was the third-liner's first career two-goal game.

Coach Bruce Boudreau defended his team's effort, saying it was better than Thursday's in Atlanta, where the Capitals hung on for an ugly 4-3 win.

"I thought tonight was a lot better than last night," Boudreau said. "It was the first game we had 40 shots on goal. I thought the power play was moving the puck around extremely well. I thought [Islanders goalie Dwayne] Roloson played well. I thought we had breakdowns. Mike [Green] just over-skated the puck."

Boudreau was referring to a gaffe by Green in the second period that led directly to the Islanders' second goal.

Green, who earlier in the game set up Alex Ovechkin's 14th goal of the season, took his eye off the puck momentarily as he surveyed the ice on front of him, then whiffed on the pass. The puck went right to Nielsen, who flicked it over Theodore at 7:12 to put the Islanders ahead, 2-1.

"You can't get mad at that," Boudreau said. "It was a physical mistake. It happens."


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