Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – Rookie goaltender Braden Holtby was solid with 24 saves and Alex Ovechkin assisted on both Washington goals, as the Capitals edged the New York Islanders, 2-1, at Nassau Coliseum.
Jason Chimera and Nicklas Backstrom scored for the Capitals, who have won two of their last three following a three-game winless skid. Washington has earned at least one point in 12 of its last 14 games (8-2-4).
“Our defense was strong tonight,” said Holtby. “We were getting into shooting lanes and blocking shots, and that was the key to the game.”
Michael Grabner scored the only goal for New York, which has dropped two straight and fell to 3-5-1 in 2011. The Islanders will travel to Buffalo on Friday for the front end of a home-and-home set with the Sabres.
“We moved the puck well, but we need to get more shots on net,” said Grabner.
Rick DiPietro allowed two goals on 24 shots in the loss.
The Capitals opened the scoring at the 3:41 mark of the first period. Ovechkin held control of the puck along the right side and, from inside the circle, sent it toward the goal mouth. Chimera was in perfect position atop the crease and his redirection slid into the back of the net.
In the early stages of the second stanza, Washington moved ahead by two via Backstrom’s 12th goal. Ovechkin barreled toward the net from the left side, but his backhander attempt from in close was saved. However, DiPietro failed to control the rebound and Backstrom was all alone in the crease for an easy, uncontested tap-in at 3:38.
Less than two minutes later, New York cut its deficit in half thanks to the speed of Grabner, who hustled along the left half-wall in the neutral zone in pursuit of the loose puck. Grabner sped past John Carlson, moved in on a partial breakaway and lit the lamp with a high backhander from the bottom of the near circle.
New York registered only seven shots in goal in the final 20 minutes and never seriously threatened despite two separate power-play chances in the stanza.
“We didn’t give them too much in the third period, and we played a pretty solid game — it was a good win for us,” said Chimera.
Ovechkin has 32 assists…Holtby was recalled from Hershey due to a lower-body injury suffered by Michal Neuvirth on Tuesday against the Flyers…The Caps improved to 10-9-3 on the road…New York, which was 0-for-6 on the power play, has lost four straight to Washington…It was Chimera’s seventh goal.