NEW YORK — Tom Wilson scored twice, Braden Holtby stopped 32 shots and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders and former coach Barry Trotz 4-1 Monday night for their season-high sixth straight win.
Nic Dowd and Alex Ovechkin also scored for Washington, which won after giving up the first goal for the fifth time during its win streak that has catapulted the defending champions to first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Valtteri Filppula scored and Thomas Greiss finished with 20 saves for the Islanders, who lost for the third time in five games.
Trotz was facing the Capitals for first time since leading them to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title in June. Trotz also guided Washington to the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and then resigned in a contract dispute and subsequently signed with Islanders.
Todd Rierden — who was on Trotz’s staff during his four years in Washington, including the last two as associated head coach — then took over.
Trotz, assistant coach Lane Lambert and goalie coach Mitch Korn, received their championship rings in the Capitals’ dressing room before the game.
Holtby stopped 15 shots in the third, including successive stops on defenceman Ryan Pulock in front near the midpoint of the period.
Leading 2-1, Washington had a two-man advantage for 1 1/2 minutes. After several attempts were stopped during the 5-on-3, Wilson beat Greiss in front about 15 seconds after the Islanders’ first penalty expired for a power-play goal to push the Capitals’ lead to 3-1 with 5:39 left. Wilson, who has scored in four straight games, now has six goals and five assists in eight games since returning from a season-opening suspension that sidelined him for 16 games.
Ovechkin added an empty-netter with 22 seconds remaining for his 18th of the season, tying him with Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner for second in the league.
Tied 1-1 after one period, the Islanders controlled play for much of the second as they outshot the Capitals 10-3. New York nearly regained the lead early in the second as Washington defenceman Matt Niskanen almost stuffed the rebound of Pulock’s shot off Holtby and across the goal line. After a review the no-goal call stood as officials confirmed the puck didn’t cross the line.
Dowd then put the Capitals ahead 2-1 at 7:58 of the middle period as he took a drop pass from Dmitrij Jaskin in the right circle and beat Greiss on the glove side for his third. It came on Washington’s second shot on goal of the period.
Each team scored in a fast-paced first period that saw 8:12 of game time elapse between whistles during one stretch.
Filppula opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the game as he got a pass from Pulock in the left circle, skated toward the middle and put a backhander past Holtby’s glove side for his seventh.
Wilson tied it at 2:50 as his shot from the right faceoff dot beat Greiss through the legs.
NOTES: Nicklas Backstrom had assists on both of Wilson’s goals, pushing him past Peter Bondra for second place on the Capitals’ career points list with 826. … John Carlson had an assist on Dowd’s goal, tying him with Kevin Hatcher for third on the Capitals’ career list for assists by a defenceman with 277. … The Capitals improved to 12-4-3 in their last 19 games vs. the Islanders.
Filppula, who has scored in two straight games, has eight points in the last seven games. … F Leo Komarov had an assist on Filppula’s goal, giving him six points the last seven games. … Islanders F Matt Martin was activated off IR after missing 10 games. …
Capitals: Host New Jersey on Friday night.
Islanders: At Boston on Thursday night.
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Vin A. Cherwoo, The Associated Press