Washington Capitals: Islanders snap Caps' 3-game winning streak
- The New York Islanders celebrate the winning goal as Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner (27) kneels in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - John Tavares scored two power-play goals in the third period to lift the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over Washington, ending the Capitals' three-game winning streak.
Tavares scored his 15th goal at 12:13 and his team-leading 16th - the 100th of his career - 30 seconds later, and Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves for the Islanders. Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas and Frans Nielsen also scored for the Islanders, who won for the third time in four games and improved to 11-11-3.
Tavares' first goal came as Washington's Mike Ribeiro was serving a four-minute penalty for high sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct. His second came with Jeff Schultz in the box - also for a double-minor - as Tavares beat Washington's Philipp Grubauer, who faced 45 shots in his first NHL start.
Mathieu Perreault and Nicklas Backstrom scored for the Capitals, who came in with eight wins in 11 games since starting the season 2-8-1 under first-year coach Adam Oates.
Bailey opened the scoring at 10:46 with his second goal of the season. Nielsen backhanded him a soft pass as Bailey skated down the left wing on a 2-on-1 break. Bailey nudged a forehand past Grubauer.
Perreault tied the game at 1:26 of the second with his power-play goal coming when the puck went off the skate of Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic past Nabokov. The goal, originally credited to Joel Ward but changed after the game, was Perreault's fourth of the season.
Cizikas broke the tie with his third of the season at 10:03 of the second, taking a pass from Matt Martin in the right circle and firing the puck past Grubauer on the stick side. The play started after Alex Ovechkin - seeking his 700th point - turned the puck over in the neutral zone.
Ovechkin has 348 goals and 699 points - most for any NHL player in both categories - since 2005-06.
Backstrom tied the game again at 7:09 of the third when his slap shot from the left point eluded Nabokov. It was Backstrom's third goal of the season.
Nabokov (11-7-3) has started all but four games this season, and ranks fourth among active goalies behind Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Nikolai Khabibulin with 322 career wins.
The 21-year-old Grubauer - Washington's fourth-round choice and the 122nd pick in the 2010 draft - was recalled from AHL Hershey to replace backup Michal Neuvirth who has been ill. Braden Holtby had started 11 straight games.
The Islanders played a strong game after a hard-fought 2-1 overtime loss to the Rangers on Thursday. New York concluded the long homestand 3-2-2 to move within one point of the Rangers for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Islanders will play seven of their next 11 games on the road starting Sunday at Pittsburgh.
The Capitals return home to play the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Washington has 16 games in the next 29 days with 10 on the road, where Washington is just 3-7-1 on the season.
The game was the first meeting of the season between the teams. The Islanders visit Washington on March 26 and April 4.
NOTES: Left wing Matt Moulson played his 300th NHL game and 270th straight contest for the Islanders. He hasn't missed a game since joining the Islanders before the 2009-10 season. ... The Islanders were without assistant coach Brent Thompson, who was suspended for two games for abusive comments toward officials following the loss to the Rangers on Thursday. . The Islanders have been tied or ahead in the third period in 20 of their 25 games this season. . The Capitals were missing defenseman Mike Green and forward Brooks Laich (groin injuries) and Marcus Johansson (concussion).
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