Holtby shines as Capitals edge Islanders 3-2 in shootout
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the lone goal in a shootout, Braden Holtby had 30 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 3-2 Saturday for their fourth straight victory.
After the Islanders forced overtime by scoring with goaltender Chad Johnson on the bench, Kuznetsov followed OT by beating Johnson on the first attempt of the shootout. Holtby subsequently denied all three New York attempts, the last by Ryan Strome.
The Islanders were 12-1 in games decided after regulation, including 7-1 in shootouts.
Eric Fehr put the Capitals up 2-1 at 14:26 of the third period, scoring his 17th goal at the end of a give-and-go exchange with teammate Brooks Laich. That snapped a deadlock that had been in place since late in the first period.
After the Islanders pulled Johnson, New York's John Tavares bounced a shot in the crease off the right post. But the Islanders retained possession, and Strome put in a rebound from the left circle at 19:12 to force overtime.
Washington's Nickas Backstrom earned an assist for his NHL-leading 64th point, breaking a tie with idle Patrick Kane of Chicago.
This Metropolitan Division showdown between the first-place Islanders and third-place Capitals played out like a postseason game. With the exception of a third-period fight between Washington's Tom Wilson and Matt Martin, neither team took a penalty after the first period, defense was a priority and there were precious few breakaway chances.
The teams split four games this season, with each winning twice at home.
New York took a 1-0 lead at 7:41 of the first period on a wrist shot by Travis Hamonic, his 100th career point. It was Hamonic's fourth goal of the season, the first since Nov. 26 against Washington.
Matt Niskanen tied it at 19:19 with slap shot from the right circle off a behind-the-net pass from Backstrom, who registered his 46th assist and seventh point in his last four games.
Washington outshot New York 10-7 in a scoreless second period during which neither team was called for a penalty.
Early in the third period, Holtby skated across the crease to kick away a shot by Josh Bailey, who had taken a crossing pass from Tavares.
Notes: Holtby has gone 33 straight games without allowing more than one first-period goal. ... The Capitals recalled D Cameron Schilling from Hershey of the AHL. He was a healthy scratch, along with C Michael Latta. ... Tavares was held without a goal for the first time in five games. ... Eric Fehr played in his 400th game with the Capitals. ... New York fell to 22-6-1 in one-goal games.
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