On April 10, 1985, the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 4-3 for the first overtime playoff win in franchise history. The game - played before a sellout crowd of 18,130 at the Capital Centre - was the first in the best-of-five Patrick Division Semifinal series.
The Caps and Isles skated a scoreless first period. Washington put eight shots on New York's Billy Smith while the Isles managed just three on the Caps' Pat Riggin.
Longtime Washington nemesis Mike Bossy gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead when he tallied a power play goal at the four-minute mark of the second period. When Denis Potvin scored at 9:07 of the second, the New York lead went to 2-0. Seconds after Potvin's tally, New York got into penalty trouble. Tomas Jonsson was whistled for interference at 9:36 and John Tonelli got caught slashing 66 seconds after that. With a 5-on-3 advantage for 54 seconds, Washington went to work. Larry Murphy got the Caps on the board at 11:15 with Scott Stevens and Bobby Carpenter assisting. Just 16 seconds later Murphy teed up another power play goal to even the score at 2-2. Mike Gartner and Carpenter collected the helpers on the game-tying tally. At 13:24, Gartner scored Washington's third unanswered goal in a span of 2:09 to give the Caps the lead. Mike McEwen picked up the lone assist. With just 1:23 remaining in the second, Bossy beat Riggin to tie it for the Islanders. The Capitals outshot New York 13-8 in the second period.
Washington came out firing in the third but neither team was able to light the red lamp. The Caps poured 18 shots on Smith while the Isles managed only six against Riggin in the third.
The Caps came out with similar fervor in overtime, firing three shots before the Islanders could register even one. At the 2:28 mark of overtime, Alan Haworth made the third one the charm when he put the puck past Smith. Rod Langway and Lou Franceschetti assisted. The Capitals outshot New York 42-17 on the evening.
New York's Potvin was the game's first star. With a goal and two assists, he had a hand in all three Islander goals. Gartner was the game's second star with a goal and an assist on the night. Murphy's two quick power play strikes earned him the third star.Murphy's two goals in 16 seconds and the team's three goals in 2:09 set franchise playoff records that still stand.
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