The New York Islanders continued their winning ways under Doug Weight and edged the Washington Capitals 3-2 at Barclays Center Tuesday night. Ryan Strome’s third-period goal put the Islanders ahead to stay. Thomas Greiss had another strong game for the Islanders and made 28 saves to earn the victory.
The Islanders improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven games and 5-0-1 under Weight. The team’s confidence continues to grow with each passing victory.
“We’re making plays, we’re playing confident and when that leaks through your group, good things are going to happen,” said Strome after the game.
The Capitals dominated early and led 1-0 on a goal by Evgeni Kuznetsov, but didn’t score again until the final minute of the contest when Alex Ovechkin scored to pull his team to within a goal. In the end, the Capitals failed to convert on their quality scoring chances early and watched as Greiss’ confidence grew as the game progressed.
“He’s been a wall for us for a while,” Brock Nelson said of Greiss. The Isles starter is now 12-3-3 in his last 18 starts.
After a slow-paced opening, the Capitals seized control of the game. Evgeni Kuznetsov gave the visitors a 1-0 lead when he split the defense and beat Thomas Greiss with a quick snap shot.
The Capitals controlled the puck for much of the middle part of the period but were unable to add to their lead.
The Islanders had some quality scoring chances on the power play, but goalie Philipp Grubauer kept the home team off the board despite extensive zone time.
The Isles outshot the Capitals 11-9 in the first 20 minutes, but Washington had the better of play overall and the better scoring chances.
The Islanders came out stronger in the second period and quickly cashed in on a power-play opportunity. With Matt Niskanen off for interference, Alan Quine deflected a shot by Andrew Ladd past Grubauer at 2:41 and the game was tied 1-1.
The goal gave the Islanders momentum and they were the stronger team for most of the second stanza. They outshot the Caps 11-5 in the period.
Alex Ovechkin had one very good chance to put the Capitals back in the lead but Greiss anticipated the play well and got across his crease in time to make the save.
Both teams opened the third period playing a conservative game designed to minimize mistakes. But the Islanders took the lead at 6:32 when Ryan Strome scored his seventh goal of the season. Rookie Anthony Beauvillier caused a turnover behind the goal and found Brock Nelson in the slot just as he was being checked hard into the boards. Nelson made a touch pass to Strome who beat Grubauer to give the Isles a 2-1 lead.
Johnny Boychuk added an empty-net goal for the Islanders with 1:08 left in regulation to make the score 3-1. Casey Cizikas had an assist on the goal, giving him the 100th point of his NHL career.
The Capitals did outshoot the Islanders 16-7 in the final 20 minutes, but most of those shots were from the perimeter and the Isles defense gave up very few rebounds or quality chances down low.
Ovechkin managed to score at 19:13 to close the gap to 3-2, but Greiss shut down the Capitals and preserved the win for the Islanders.
WSH – Evgeni Kuznetsov (10) assisted by Justin Williams and Brooks Orpik
NYI – Alan Quine (5) PPG assisted by Andrew Ladd and Calvin de Haan
NYI – Ryan Strome (7) assisted by Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier
NYI – Johnny Boychuk (6) EN assisted by Casey Cizikas and John Tavares
WSH – Alecx Ovechkin (24) assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeni Kuznetsov
THW Three Stars
First: Ryan Strome (Goal)
Second: Alan Quine (Goal)
Third: Thoams Greiss (28 saves)
New York Islanders vs Detroit Red Wings
Joe Louis Arena – 7:30 PM EST on Friday Feb 3
Broadcast Channels: NHL Network, MSG-Plus, Fox Sports Detroit-Plus
2016-17 Season Series: Dec 4, 2016: Red Wings 4, Islanders 3 (OT)
Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals
Verizon Center – 8:00 PM EST on Wednesday Feb 1
Broadcast Channels: NBCSN, TVAS, SNE, SNO
2016-17 Season Series: Dec 7, 2016: Capitals 4, Bruins 3