LANDOVER -- Washington right wing Peter Bondra roared out of a four-game goal-less streak with four goals and two assists, including the assist on the game-winner by Michal Pivonka with 1:21 gone in overtime, as he led the Capitals back from a three-goal deficit to a 6-5 victory over the New York Islanders.
It was one of the most entertaining games of the season and a sellout crowd of 18,130 was at the USAir Arena to see it.
Bondra and Pivonka were the Capitals' total offense in this one. As the two combined for Washington's first goal as well, as Bondra assisted on Pivonka's short-handed goal in the first period.
Bondra then scored his first goal goal in the second, to bring Washington to within 4-2. He followed that with a natural hat trick in the third. When he assisted on Pivonka's game-winner, it was a career high six-point night.
It is also the first time this season that the Caps have rallied from a three-goal deficit. In fact they have not done it since the season opener at Winnipeg two years ago.
The Caps fell behind 2-0 in the first period on a short-handed goal by Niklas Andersson and an even-strength goal by Martin Straka, and were down 4-1 with 7:41 gone in the third.
By the time the two teams got to overtime, the Capitals had used Jim Carey and Olie Kolzig and Carey again to stop 16 of 21 Islanders' shots, while Islanders' goalie Tommy Soderstrom had stopped 37 of 42.
The win gives the Capitals a 25-21-6 record and a two-game winning streak as they leave tomorrow on a three-game western road trip.
The Capitals were out-shooting New York, 8-2, and on the power play. And then it happened. The puck slipped past Pivonka and Andersson raced to catch up to it. As he carried the puck toward the net, Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar went down to block, only to have Andersson pull the puck around him and beat Carey one-on-one.
It was the fifth short-handed goal Washington has allowed this season and worse, it was the 24th time in 51 games that the opposition has scored on one of its first three shots.
The Islanders made it 2-0 with 5:57 to go, when a pile-up in front of the Capitals' net set the stage for Straka to left one over the pile past the tumbled Carey.
At that point, Carey had allowed two goals on five shots and coach Jim Schoenfeld sent in Kolzig.
It was particularly frustrating because the Capitals were getting their chances, some wonderful chances.
Stefan Ustorf worked exceptionally hard to gain possession of ,, the puck and then made a perfect pass to Joe Juneau for an open shot. But in a rush to score, Juneau whiffed.
When the Caps had a 5-on-3 power play opportunity for 47 seconds with 12 minutes to go in the period, their shots were blocked halfway to the net. When Peter Bondra finally got off a shot that made its way to Soderstrom, it was a mishit.
Down 2-0, Washington finally scored. With 52.9 second left in the period, Washington got its own short-handed goal, when Pivonka completed a two-on-one breakaway by putting back the rebound off Bondra's shot.