Brock Nelson's breakaway go-ahead goal capped a frantic flurry early in the second period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Friday night for the New York Islanders, who went on to beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 in Toronto and take a two-games-to-none lead.
Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday.
The Islanders hold a 2-0 series edge in the first round for the second straight year. New York swept the Pittsburgh Penguins last spring.
Nick Leddy and Matt Martin scored the first two goals in the second for the Islanders, who received an insurance goals late in the third from Cal Clutterbuck and Anders Lee. New York goalie Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice while goalie Braden Holtby recorded 27 saves for the Capitals, who are down two games to none in a series for the first time since the first round of the 2018 playoffs. That time, Washington won the next four games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and went on to win the Stanley Cup.
The Capitals parlayed a quirky bounce into a quick 1-0 lead. Tom Wilson fired the puck from the blue line and it caromed off the boards, ticked off the skate of Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and bounced to Ovechkin, who backhanded a shot past Varlamov just 56 seconds after the opening faceoff.
The teams combined for four goals in a span of 3:58 early in the second.
Leddy began the flurry by scoring on the power play at 2:56, when his slap shot from just in front of the blue line glanced off Holtby's glove, bounced off the far post and into the net.
Holtby turned back a shot by Clutterbuck moments before Martin produced his second goal of the postseason. Capitals center Lars Eller tried corralling the puck behind the Washington net, but Martin stuck his stick out to jar the puck loose before finishing his check. Martin then raced back to the crease and backhanded home a pass from Mayfield at the 5:01 mark.
Ovechkin tied the game 98 seconds later when he darted in front of Islanders center Mathew Barzal and redirected Brenden Dillon's shot from the blue line.
But the score remained tied for just 15 seconds thanks to Nelson, who stole the puck from Jakub Vrana at the Capitals' blue line and sailed in untouched for the breakaway goal.
The Capitals had the first seven shots of the third and nearly tied the score on the power play around the midway point of the period, but with Varlamov leaning to his right and the left corner wide open, Ovechkin's shot hit the side of the net.
The Islanders spent several minutes smothering the Capitals in the Washington zone before Jean-Gabriel Pageau's shot bounced off the arm of Clutterbuck and fluttered past Holtby with 2:46 left. Lee added an empty-netter 67 seconds later.
--Field Level Media