Ovechkin scores 45th as Capitals top Islanders 3-1
By SCOTT CHARLES
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Alex Ovechkin became the first player in NHL history with 10 seasons of 45 goals or more, scoring in Washington's three-goal third period as the Capitals rallied to a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie also had goals, Braden Holtby stopped 20 shots and the Capitals extended their winning streak to three while tying the Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Tom Kuhnackl scored for the Islanders and Thomas Greiss made 26 saves, but New York fell for the second time during its current five-game homestand (1-2-0).
Ovechkin improved his individual point streak to eight games with his 45th of the season at 4:34 of the third period. Islanders captain Anders Lee was serving a two-minute interference penalty when Ovechkin batted the puck out of midair to help the Capitals take a 2-1 lead. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on the play.
Just 1:08 before Ovechkin's record-setting tally, Vrana evened the score at 1 with his 19th of the season. The Czech forward found a loose puck during a scramble in front of the net. Niklas Backstrom and Michal Kempny assisted on the play.
The Islanders - coached by Barry Trotz, who led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup title last season - opened the scoring at 2:43 of the first period when Kuhnackl converted a nifty forehand backhand to deke after intercepting a pass from Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov. It was Kuhnackl's fourth of the season.
The play was close to being offside, but it appeared Kuhnackl did not touch the puck while entering the offensive zone until teammate Leo Komarov to cleared the blue line. Capitals coach Todd Reirden elected not to challenge the play.
Kuhnackl dressed for the game instead of veteran Andrew Ladd, who returned to the lineup Thursday night from a lower-body injury which sidelined the alternate captain since mid-November.
Islanders forward Josh Bailey inadvertently passed the puck into his own net at 18:32 of the third period when New York pulled its goalie in favor of an extra attacker. Oshie got credit for the goal.
The Capitals have earned a point in 16 of their last 21 games against the Islanders, and are 22-10-4 against Eastern Conference Opponents this season.
NOTES: The Islanders announced before the game that F Matt Martin suffered an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. ... New York D Thomas Hickey was scratched for a second straight game after returning from an upper-body injury earlier this week. ... Islanders F Ross Johnston was in uniform for the first time since Jan. 12. ... This was the Capitals' first trip to Nassau Coliseum since Game 6 of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. ... Capitals scratched D Christian Djoos, F Dmitrij Jaskin and F Chandler Stephenson.
Islanders: Host Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Capitals: Visit New York Rangers on Sunday.
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