NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 9:58 PM
Capitals Justin Williams scores the game-winner in Brooklyn Thursday night.
Over the next 31 days, the Islanders will play just two games in Brooklyn and a dozen on the road.
With the circus and college basketball mostly taking over their new home arena through the middle of March, however, the Isles didn’t head into their long and winding road stretch with a victory.
They came back to gain an important point but still fell 3-2 in overtime to Alex Ovechkin and NHL-leading Washington on Thursday night before the seventh sellout crowd (15,795) of the season at Barclays Center.
With Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in the building, his fellow Russian luminary, Ovechkin, buried two goals in the second period and Justin Williams scored with 43.2 left in overtime as the cruising Caps (42-10-4) extended their lead over the third-place Isles (30-19-7) in the Metropolitan Division to 21 points.
Frans Nielsen netted the game-tying goal with 1:44 remaining in regulation for the up-and-down Isles, who are 12-11-2 in 25 games since the end of an 8-0-2 stretch in mid-December.
Friday’s visit to the Devils in Newark will open a challenging stretch of 12 of the next 14 games on the road, with New Jersey just two points behind the Islanders in the standings.
The Isles finished 12-0-2 this season against Western Conference teams in Brooklyn, but they have dropped all three meetings this season against the Caps (0-2-1) and are 1-8-2 against the seven other teams currently in playoff-positions in the East. Washington, of course, also took out Jack Capuano’s team in seven games in the first round of the playoffs last April.
Thomas Greiss made his second consecutive start in goal, after making 28 saves in a 4-1 home win Monday against the Red Wings.
Frans Nielsen ties the game for the Islanders, but they fall before hitting the road for a while.
Greiss had won five straight starts and seven of his previous eight appearances, presenting Capuano with a strong alternative to presumptive starter Jaroslav Halak.
“Thomas has been playing well and there’s no reason not to put him back in there (against Washington),” Capuano said before the game.
Tavares staked Greiss to a 1-0 lead against Braden Holtby 15:41 into the first period, extending his current point streak to seven games (5-6-11) with his team-best 22nd of the season.
But Ovechkin did typical Ovechkin things in the middle session, first tying it with an easy tap-in at the right post at 1:25.
Barely 90 seconds later, No.8 ripped home his second of the period – and 11th in 11 games – with a power-play wrister from the top of the left circle for a 2-1 Washington lead. Greiss denied two Ovechkin chances on a 5-on-3 power play later in the period and kept the Isles within one until Nielsen flipped in a hard-angle shot for the equalizer with 1:44 left in the third.
Defenseman Calvin de Haan was not in the lineup for the Isles for the first time this season due to a lower body injury; he was replaced by Brian Strait.
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