UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The surging Washington Capitals earned a win that didn't thrill them. The slumping New York Islanders took a loss that could have been a whole lot worse.
Alex Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game with 10.7 seconds left in overtime and the Capitals beat the Islanders 5-4 on Tuesday night. It was Washington's fourth straight win and New York's seventh consecutive loss.
The Islanders managed to salvage a point thanks to third-period goals by Andy Sutton and Jon Sim that wiped out a 4-2 deficit. Sim tied it with 2:13 left in regulation with his first goal since being placed on waivers last week. New York outshot Washington 17-5 in the third, the Islanders' best period in quite some time.
"I didn't like the fact we stopped playing in the third period. And I didn't want a shootout, because of too many factors," Ovechkin said. "I wanted us to win in overtime."
After the Islanders failed to get the puck out, Nicklas Backstrom found Ovechkin at the edge of the right circle for a wrister that New York goalie Joey MacDonald called a "picture-perfect shot."
Washington's 40th shot of the game produced Ovechkin's 19th goal this season. He gave the Capitals a 4-2 lead with 3:25 left in the second.
"That's what superheroes are all about," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But he'd likely be the first to tell you we didn't play well."
The Capitals have won four straight and eight of 11 to open a 10-point lead in the Southeast Division.
Boyd Gordon and Brooks Laich scored in the first period, and defenceman Milan Jurcina added a goal in the second. Brent Johnson made 35 saves to win his fifth consecutive start.
Doug Weight and Richard Park scored power-play goals - while Capitals defenceman Sean Collins sat in the penalty box - that brought the Islanders within one each time.
The Islanders, who matched their longest losing streak of last season, have dropped nine of 10 (1-8-1). They got within a goal for a third time when Sutton scored with 8:41 left.
Sim tied it by deflecting in Mark Streit's shot from the left point.
"We've got to make baby steps before we make big steps. We'll take it," said Sim, who rejoined the team after clearing waivers. "It was a long week. It felt good to help my teammates get the tying goal. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the fifth one."
Johnson was sharp until the late stages, but the Capitals allowed more than one goal for the first time in four games. Washington had been 18-for-18 in killing penalties over four games before Weight and Park connected on the Islanders' first two chances.
That was little consolation for injury-riddled New York, which faces a trip to Minnesota and Nashville as it tries to get back to winning.
"No one feels sorry for you except for guys in this room," Weight said. "We have to get ourselves out of it."
Washington got going early when Gordon stuffed in a loose puck past MacDonald at the left post at 2:54. MacDonald claimed he had the puck covered and was angry that neither referee blew the play dead. It was Gordon's first goal in 27 games.
Laich made it 2-0 with 5:42 left in the period just after a power play expired.
Ovechkin and Alexander Semin worked the puck around skilfully during the advantage, but couldn't get the puck past MacDonald. It took a broken play to do the trick. Laich lost the puck and it went between Streit's legs. MacDonald reached to poke it, but the puck slid under his stick and then between his legs.
Weight cut it to 2-1 just 1:56 later.
Jurcina banked in a drive from the right point off the leg of Islanders forward Blake Comeau 6:07 into the second, and Park made it 3-2 with a drive from the high slot off a pass from captain Bill Guerin.
Ovechkin let the sparse crowd of 11,655 at Nassau Coliseum enjoy the goal briefly and then answered 2:03 later. Semin flung a pass from the right circle behind his back to Ovechkin, who had a wide-open left side to put in his shot. He raised his stick in his right hand and blew a kiss.
"It doesn't take away the pain of an overtime loss when you work so hard to battle back," Guerin said, "but you have to take the positive out of whatever you can when you're in this predicament."
Notes: Ovechkin has five goals in three games after netting only one in the previous five. ... New York C Mike Sillinger (groin) sat out his second straight game. He missed the first 24 following hip surgery. ... The Capitals are 13-2-1 when leading after the first period. ... Islanders D Brendan Witt was a minus-5. Fellow defenceman Freddy Meyer was minus-4. Washington defenceman Mike Green was plus-3.