WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 11: Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center on October 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Capitals Powerplay Scores Late To Give Washington A 2-1 Win Over the Islanders

Nicklas Backstrom and the Capitals powerplay overcome a sluggish game to beat the lowly Islanders 2-1.

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Washington Pulls it out 2-1

Washington DC-The Washington Capitals have yet to play quality hockey for a full 60 minutes yet somehow they keep finding ways to win.

Tonight a dormant powerplay finally cashed in as Nicklas Backstrom redirected an Alex Ovechkin blast from the point with 3:39 left in the game to break a 1-1 tie with the New York Islanders. The victory gives Washington a 3-1 record and a sweep of their three-game homestand to open the season.

The Capitals entered tonight's game just 1-12 with the man advantage, and were 0-3 heading into their fourth powerplay late in the third period. Washington finally set the powerplay up with crisp passing, and then Backstrom worked his magic.

"I was just standing in front of the net and [Ovechkin] was shooting at my feet," said Backstrom. "It was kind of lucky he didn't hit [them] too hard otherwise I probably couldn't walk tomorrow. It was a good one."

The Islanders, without James Wisniewski (suspension) and John Tavares (concussion), controlled the flow of play for much of the game, but could not score after an early tally by rookie Nino Niederreiter just 3:14 into the first period. Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth made several key stops with the score tied in the third, including a breakaway save to rob Matt Moulson of a goal.

Mike Green misplayed a puck in the neutral zone setting Moulson up for the breakaway, but Neuvirth came out of his crease to challenge Moulson and make the stop. "I was just trying to stay patient," Neuvirth said after the game. "That was a big save for us."

Neuvirth finished with 23 saves on 24 shots to win his third straight start since dropping the season-opener against Atlanta. With fellow goalie Semyon Varlamov sidelined due to a groin injury, Neuvirth is making a convincing argument to win the starting job full-time. However, Bruce Boudreau downplayed the competition at goalie.

"Neuvy's making a great case for himself," he said. "He's gotten better in every game and tonight was his best game. So we'll see; we know Varly's a very good goalie too so it's not ever going to be a controversy."

After the Islanders went up early on Niederreiter's goal, scoring was at a premium. Alex Ovechkin beat Dwayne Roloson late in the second period to tie the game. The goal was Ovechkin's fourth in as many games; a strong start for the two-time Hart Trophy winner.

Sparking Ovechkin's goal was an incident in front of the crease about midway through the second period. The Capitals were struggling to mount much an offensive, but after Roloson took exception to Matt Handricks in his crease, the atmosphere on the ice became a bit testy.

Hendricks ended up in front of Roloson at the goal mouth. The goaltender quickly jumped up and grabbed him after the whistle and both teams gathered around the fracas. Soon after Washington goaded New York into a penalty and settled in for a powerplay. Though the Capitals failed to score with the extra man, it helped them gain enough momentum to tie it before the third period.

The Islanders controlled play in the third period, but couldn't convert several opportunities, including a powerplay off a Mike Green holding minor 8:01 into the segment. Their inability to score set Washington up for Backstrom's heroics and a Caps win.

Game Notes: Washington successfully killed all three penalties against them to make it 15 consecutive penalty kills to begin the season.

DJ King, acquired by the Caps as an enforcer this offseason, made his debut with Washington tonight. He dropped the gloves on his first shift with Trevor Gillies after laying a heavy hit along the endboards.

Matt Bradley, Tom Poti, and Marcus Johansson were scratches. Hendricks centered the third line and David Steckel the fourth.

Tomas Fleischmann began the game at first-line center, but Boudreau moved Backstrom back up to the first-line after the first period.

The Capitals outshot the Islanders 26-24.


Capitals Vs. Islanders: Alex Ovechkin's Goal Makes It 1-1 After Two Periods

Washington DC-Alex Ovechkin continued a hot start to the season with his fourth goal in as many games to tie the score at one after two periods of play against the New York Islanders.

Washington came out sluggish again in the second, but Ovechkin's tally woke up a silent crowd 18:19 into the period. He made a quick move at the top of the circle, using the defender as a screen to put the puck just out of the reach of Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson.

While Ovechkin got the Caps on the board, the pace actually picked up after Matt Hendricks crowded Roloson 's crease during a scoring chance midway through the period. Roloson immediately grabbed Hendricks and both teams reacted to the dust-up. The atmosphere was chippy after each whistle following the incident and the Capitals had a good chance to tie it up after Andrew MacDonald went to the box for a slashing penalty 8:55 into the period.

However, Washington continued to struggle on the powerplay, failing to score once again with the man advantage. They are 0-3 tonight and 1-15 on the season.

The Islanders had an early powerplay as Eric Fehr went to the box at 2:49 for interference, but the Capitals killed off the penalty to remain perfect on the PK this season.


Capitals Vs. Islanders: Washington Trails 1-0 After One Period

Washington DC-Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau shuffled his lineup tonight in the first period against the New York Islanders, putting Tomas Fleischmann on the first line and moving Nicklas Backstrom down to the second line with Alex Semin and Brooks Laich.

So far the experiment isn't working as the Capitals have managed just five first period shots as they trail New York 1-0 after one.

The Islanders struck first just 3:14 into the game on a Nino Niederreiter goal. Niederreiter, the Islanders first-round draft pick this year, received a pass from behind the net from veteran center Doug Weight to beat goaltender Michal Neuvirth and give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.

Washington's performance has been sloppy to say the least. They have struggled to control the puck and set up good scoring chances. They are also 0-1 on the powerplay, making them 1-14 on the season. However, their penalty-killing unit remains perfect on the year as they stymied the Islanders' only powerplay in the first period.

In his debut for the Capitals, forward DJ King laid a big hit along the endboards during his first shift. Islanders forward Trevor Gillies retaliated, dropping the gloves with King. King was acquired by the Caps over the offseason in an effort to toughen up roster hell-bent on finesse and he quickly proved he will earn his paycheck as the Capitals enforcer.


Capitals Take On Islanders In Early-Season Contest

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will shoot for a third straight win tonight when they host the New York Islanders in the finale of a three-game homestand at the Verizon Center.

After losing their season opener in Atlanta, the Capitals have notched consecutive victories over New Jersey and Ottawa. Washington routed the Devils, 7-2, on Saturday night, but needed an overtime winner from Alex Ovechkin to beat the Senators on Monday.

Ovechkin scored 4:28 into overtime to lead the Capitals to the 3-2 victory. As time wound down in the extra session, Ovechkin skated down the right side and deked a defender before pulling the trigger on a shot from the right circle that drifted along the ice and through the legs of goaltender Pascal Leclaire for the win.

Ovechkin scored his third goal in two games for the Caps. Eric Fehr registered a goal and an assist, whileAlexander Semin also scored. Michal Neuvirth stopped 29-of-31 shots to earn his second victory of the season.

Following tonight's home test, the Caps will be off until Saturday's test in Nashville.

Meanwhile, after dropping a shootout decision to visiting Dallas in the season opener on Saturday, the Islanders earned their first victory of 2010-11 with a home 6-4 triumph Monday afternoon against the rival Rangers at Nassau Coliseum. Blake Comeau scored twice, including the game-winner late in the game.

Josh BaileyMatt Moulson and Frans Nielsen each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, while Rick DiPietro stopped 29 shots in the win.

"It was a big win for us," said Comeau. "We've had two games here where we've battle back so it shows that this team has character. Everyone chipped in tonight, it was a big team effort."

DiPietro had played in just 13 total games in the previous two seasons for the Islanders, but has started both contests for New York this season. Dwayne Roloson assumed the No. 1 goaltender role last year with DiPietro sidelined for most of the campaign, but has yet to see any action in 2010-11.

The Isles were playing Monday without John Tavares, who suffered what has been called a mild concussion in Saturday's game against the Stars. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft will also sit out tonight's game, but he could be back in action this weekend. As a rookie last season, Tavares posted 24 goals and led the Isles with 54 points.

New York is hoping Tavares will not miss significant time as it is already dealing with long-term injuries to forward Kyle Okposo (right shoulder surgery) and Mark Streit (left shoulder surgery).

Washington took three of the four meetings against the Islanders last season. The first three matchups in 2009-10 were decided by just one goal, but the Capitals posted a 7-2 blowout at Nassau Coliseum in the last meeting on January 26. Washington has taken seven of eight overall in the series and three of the last four encounters in D.C.

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