Ovechkin's big game lifts Capitals past Islanders

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON - Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin celebrated his return to the lineup with a pair of power-play goals Tuesday night, but it was the third-period assist he gave rookie right wing Tom Wilson for his first NHL goal that gave him the most satisfaction.
"Everybody wants to score, especially when you're young and in the NHL," Ovechkin said after the Capitals' 6-2 win over the visiting New York Islanders.
"He deserves it. He's a hard-working guy. I'm happy for him."
After speaking with reporters, Ovechkin returned to the Capitals dressing room with a towel full of shaving cream and ambushed Wilson from behind, smearing his face with the shaving cream pie.
"I'll definitely remember that," said Wilson, 19, who snapped an Ovechkin pass behind Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for his first NHL goal. "He's on fire right now. It's pretty cool to see him pass it and see him come in for the hug after. It's pretty special."
In addition to Ovechkin's two power-play goals, center Nicklas Backstrom picked up three assists to help give the Capitals their third straight victory.
With the win, Washington (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]. Center John Tavares and right wing Kyle Okposo netted goals for the Isles.
The Caps essentially won the game in the second period when they scored five goals, including three on the power play.
"I thought we played pretty good until all of a sudden, bang-bang, on that power play," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We never recovered from that."
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.
"We lost the game in 15 minutes, it's as simple as that," said Nabokov, who fell to 12-2-3 in his career against Washington. "It's a combination of everything - discipline and turnovers -- that cost us the game."
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 Nabokov.
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 defenseman Matt Carkner (slashing) and left wing 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 forward Frans Nielsen past Braden Holtby for his seventh goal of the season.
NOTES: Capitals captain Alex 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.

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