WASHINGTON (AP) — T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Matt Niskanen scored as the Washington Capitals swept a home-and-home set against the skidding New York Islanders with a 6-3 win on Friday night.
Alex Chiasson had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who hammered the Islanders 7-3 in New York on Thursday. Jakub Vrana’s goal gave Washington a 5-1 lead with 9:04 remaining. Lars Eller added an empty-netter, and Braden Holtby made 22 saves.
Washington broke a tie with the idle Pittsburgh Penguins for sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals’ four-game winning streak is their longest since taking five in a row from Dec. 28 to Jan. 9.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington’s second-leading scorer, left in the second period and did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury, according to the team.
Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who have lost 10 of 11.
Holtby, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goaltender, had lost seven of eight and did not play in the previous four games. He allowed three goals in a 4-0 loss at Anaheim on March 6. Philipp Grubauer, tied for fourth in the league with a 2.26 goals-against average, started the next four games and went 3-1.
Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak had 25 saves. New York has given up at least five goals in 20 games this season.
Oshie redirected Alex Ovechkin’s shot past Halak for a power-play goal in the first period. Oshie has three goals in two games after a 19-game drought.
Barzal’s unassisted goal with 14:30 remaining in the second tied the score at 1. The tie did not last long as Washington took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play. Backstrom’s persistent jabbing at a loose puck in front of Halak led to a 2-1 lead with 7:12 left in the second.
Kuznetsov had two assists before exiting. In the final seconds of the second period, he smashed into the boards behind the Islanders net as New York’s Thomas Hickey was called for a slashing penalty. The slow-rising Kuznetsov eventually skated off and headed straight toward the locker room.
NOTES: Nelson and Tavares scored power-play goals. … The Capitals won the season series 3-1. . Washington honored Ovechkin before the game for scoring his 600th goal Monday against Winnipeg. . The Capitals scratched forward Brett Connolly, center Chandler Stephenson and defenseman Jakub Jerabek. Connolly has 14 goals this season. Washington D Christian Djoos played for the first time since March 6. . The Islanders scratched defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, defenseman Sebastian Ho and forward Chris Wagner.
Islanders: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
Capitals: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
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