WASHINGTON - While Alex Ovechkin was allowing an upper body injury to heal, the Washington Capitals won two games without him, prompting him to tell reporters, "They don't need me."
His return certainly didn't hurt Capitals' ailing power play.
Ovechkin scored a pair of power-play goals and Nicklas Backstrom picked up three assists to help give the Capitals their third straight victory, a 6-2 win over the visiting New York Islanders.
With the win, the Capitals (8-7-0) moved past the Islanders (6-6-3) and into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The top three teams in the division qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Islanders' loss snapped a modest two-game win streak and was their first regulation loss to the Capitals in nine games [4-1-4]. John Tavares and Kyle Okposo netted goals for the Isles.
Both teams have dominated their opponents in second periods this season, but it was the Capitals who turned the game into a rout with five second-period goals.
Trailing 1-0, the Caps received two power-play goals from Ovechkin, another from Marcus Johansson and even-strength goals from defensemen John Carlson and Alex Urbom. Rookie Tom Wilson finished off the scoring with a power-play goal, his first career tally.
It all started when Carlson, who scored his first goal of the season Saturday night, intercepted a pass from Kyle Okposo at the blue line, took two steps forward and cranked a shot past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who came into the game with a 12-1-3 career record against Washington.
Ovechkin gave the Caps a 2-1 lead with a snap shot past Nabokov (5-4-3) on the man-advantage, but the Islanders struck back just 7 seconds later on Okposo's fifth goal of the season, a hard wrister past Braden Holtby (6-5-0).
That's when the Islanders handed the game over with back-to-back penalties to Matt Carkner (slashing) and Thomas Vanek (interference). The Capitals, who entered the game with the NHL's fourth-best power play but were 2-for-their-last-20, converted on both man-advantages, along with an even-strength tally by Urbom to take a 5-2 lead.
Johansson buried a loose puck from the side of the net for his first goal of the season.
Urbom made it 4-2 with his first goal in a Washington uniform, converting a pass from rookie Tom Wilson, who earned his first NHL point on the play.
After that it was Ovechkin scoring from his favorite spot, the left wing circle, on a nice cross-ice feed from Johansson.
The Islanders drew first blood when Tavares scored the only goal of the first period just as a penalty to Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski expired.
Grabovski clipped Tavares' helmet with an errant high stick and just as the box door opened to release Grabovski, Tavares ripped a poke-check pass from Frans Nielsen past Braden Holtby for his seventh goal of the season.
NOTES: Ovechkin is wearing a mustache for the first time in his career as the NHL celebrates Movember, a mustache-related charity event. "I feel weird, but it's fun," he said. ... Islanders G Evgeni Nabokov entered the game with a career record of 12-1-3 against the Capitals with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. ... Capitals G Braden Holtby entered the game with eight shutouts in his first 68 NHL games. Among active NHL goalies, only Steve Mason (10), Antti Niemi (nine) and Pekka Rinne (nine) recorded more in their first 68 NHL games. ... The Capitals close out their three-game homestand Thursday night when they face the Minnesota Wild. The Islanders continue their four-game road trip Tuesday night in Raleigh, N.C., against the Carolina Hurricanes.