LANDOVER -- Kelly Miller's goal with 39 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Washington Capitals a 5-4 National Hockey League victory over the New York Islanders before 16,487 at the Capital Centre yesterday.
The Capitals, 4-0-0 against the Patrick Division-rival Islanders, trailed, 4-2, entering the third period, then rallied.
Goals by Miller, on a fancy move that got him free in the slot at 3 minutes, 53 seconds, and Ken Sabourin, on the rebound of a shot by Steve Leach at 10:26, tied the score at 4 and forced a five-minute overtime period.
The Capitals scored the game-winner when Calle Johansson fired a slap shot from the right point, and Miller, who was camped in the slot, redirected the puck past Islanders goalie Glenn Healy.
"I just went to the front of the goal and tried to make something happen," Miller said of his overtime goal. "It apparently went off me or my stick. All I know is that Johansson took the shot, and he put it right on target.
"On my other goal, I wanted to get in closer before I shot, so I made a move on the defenseman at the circle, came free and put the puck between the goalie's pads."
Kevin Hatcher's shot from the blue line nine seconds after the opening faceoff eluded Healy and gave Washington a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders, who are last in the Patrick Division, nine points behind fifth-place Washington, quickly went in front, as Derrick King scored the first of his two goals on the rebound of a shot by Brent Sutter, and Dave Volek and Pat LaFontaine added goals for a 3-1 lead.
Dino Ciccarelli, scoring his second goal in as many games, cut the deficit to 4-2, converting passes from Miller and Hatcher. The goal broke an 0-for-27 drought on power plays for Washington. King came back with his second goal when Capitals defenseman Mike Lalor gave up the puck in his end, and New York led, 4-2.
"That was a great comeback, the best comeback since I've been here," Capitals coach Terry Murray said. "I think you saw both Capitals teams out there -- the team that has been on the downside recently and the team that showed up in the third period and worked hard and won the game.
"Miller did a great job, not only scoring, but killing penalties, playing on the power play and doing everything we've asked of him. But it wasn't a one-man show. We had so many guys contribute. Don Beaupre was great in the goal, especially in the third period and in overtime when he came up very large. Alan May, Nick Kypreos and Steve Seftel were great forechecking and delivering big hits in the corners. Sabourin did a great job with his size and strength."
Seftel, on recall from the Baltimore Skipjacks, said: "I was nervous when I first got here [last week], but I feel right at home now. My job is to go into the corners and hit people. I want to do anything I can to contribute."
LaFontaine was upset with the loss, saying: "Any time you have the lead in the third period, you don't want to give it up. It was a very frustrating game. We had a lot of bad breaks and we made mental errors. We also blew two points in the standings."
King said: "Our power play killed us. We have to score more on our power play [the Islanders were 1-for-7]. The guys worked hard the first two periods, and, in the third period, we let Washington put pressure on us. They worked harder than we did, and we fouled up."
NOTES: RW John Kordic, who was acquired in a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, has not played in a game in more than three weeks. He will practice with Washington and accompany the team on a two-game trip to Pittsburgh and Uniondale, N.Y., this week. "Kordic is in pretty good shape," Murray said. "He skated every day when he wasn't playing, and he should be ready to play for us soon."