Capitals Vs. Islanders: Nicklas Backstrom, Caps Break Out Of Scoring Slumps In 2-1 Win Over Islanders

Nicklas Backstrom scored for the first time since December 1 and added an assist in the 2-1 victory. Check out Japers Rink to discuss the game with fellow fans.

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Nicklas Backstrom, Caps Break Out Of Scoring Slumps In 2-1 Win Over Islanders

The Washington Capitals entered Thursday's game with the New York Islanders with some recent scoring woes in tow. After their 60-minute effort, the Caps will leave New York with much less baggage.

Behind goals by Jason Chimera and Nicklas Backstrom and sound goaltending from Braden Holtby, the Caps defeated the Islanders 2-1 in an important game for morale.

The Capitals entered the game with only 28 first period goals, last in the NHL, but reversed their misfortune within the first five minutes. Chimera, in his new spot on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Backstrom, opened the scoring at 3:41. Backstrom entered the zone and sent a drop pass to a trailing Ovechkin. Ovechkin skated towards the net and sent a slap pass to Chimera, who was rushing to the crease. Chimera tipped the puck past Rick DiPietro for his seventh goal of the season and second in three games. It was only the Capitals' second first period goal in 2011.

Backstrom scored his first goal since December 1 on a play that he set up perfectly. Backstrom entered the zone and centered to Ovechkin, who powered his way into the slot. Ovechkin put a wrist shot on DiPietro that the goaltender had a hard time corralling. Backstrom crashed the net and picked up the scraps for his 12th goal of the season at 3:38 of the second period to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

A breakaway goal from Michael Grabner just two minutes after Backstrom's tally made the score 2-1, but Holtby would not let in another shot for the rest of the game. Holtby stopped 24 shots in his fifth career start to earn the victory.

Washington had some penalty troubles; they found themselves shorthanded six times, but killed off all six penalties in large part to Holtby's composure in goal.

With 26 wins on their resume, the Capitals head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs Saturday and will look to win back-to-back games for the first time in 2011

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Caps, Isles Trade Goals, But Washington Leaves Second Period Up 2-1

In the first period, the Caps got back on track by finally scoring in the first 20 minutes. In the second period, Nicklas Backstrom got back on track by finally scoring.

Backstrom broke a month-long goalless drought to give the Caps a 2-1 lead over the Islanders.

Backstrom scored his first goal since December 1 on a play that he set up perfectly. Backstrom entered the zone and centered to Ovechkin, who powered his way into the slot. Ovechkin put a wrist shot on Rick DiPietro that the goaltender had a hard time corralling. Backstrom crashed the net and picked up the scraps for his 12th goal of the season at 3:38 to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later, the Islanders cut the lead in half. Michael Grabner found himself alone along the side boards and sprinted into the offensive zone. Grabner held off two Caps defensemen and fired a top-shelf backhand over Braden Holtby to make the game 2-1 at 5:15.

The Capitals and Islanders each have 18 shots on goal. Washington is also 4-4 on the penalty kill.

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Caps Finally Score In First Period, Lead Islanders 1-0 After First Period

The Capitals entered the game with only 28 first period goals, last in the NHL, but reversed their misfortune within the first five minutes.

Jason Chimera scored early in the first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead over the Islanders after 20 minutes.

Chimera, in his new spot on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, opened the scoring at 3:41. Backstrom entered the zone and sent a drop pass to a trailing Ovechkin. Ovechkin skated towards the net and sent a slap pass to Chimera, who was rushing to the crease. Chimera tipped the puck past Rick DiPietro for his seventh goal of the season and second in three games.

Braden Holtby stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period, which came mostly on two power play opportunities for New York. The Caps got nine shots in DiPietro.

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Starting Lineup

Via Washington Post, below is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera
Laich-Johansson-Knuble
Hendricks-Perreault-Beagle
King-Steckel-Gordon

Defense
Schultz-Green
Alzner-Carlson
Erskine/Fahey-Hannan

Goal
Holtby
Varlamov

Michal Neuvirth (lower body) and Eric Fehr (shoulder) are the scratches.

The Caps recalled Brian Fahey from AHL Hershey and he took warm-ups. Via Katie Carrera, John Erskine "didn't look quite right" during the morning skate and could sit out despite taking warm-ups as well.

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Braden Holtby To Start In Net, Semyon Varlamov Will Back Up

When the Caps take the ice against the Islanders tonight, they'll be down to their third string net-minder, according to Mike Vogel.

Braden Holtby gets the start in goal for the #Caps tonight. Semyon Varlamov will back up.less than a minute ago via txt

The fact that Varlamov is healthy enough to be the back up is a pretty good sign about the status of his injury, but if he was completely fit, he probably would be starting.

Holtby played in goal for five games earlier this eason when the Capitals had similar injury troubles and performed pretty averagely. In the three games when he played the whole contest, Holtby saved 65 of the 75 shots he faced, good for a .867 save percentage. Not great for a starting goaltender, but nobody would ever accuse him of being that this early in his career.

The Capitals defense will have to play extremely well tonight to protect their 21-year-old netminder as much as possible.

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Capitals Vs. Islanders: Injury-Plagued Caps Limp To Long Island Looking To Get Back On Track

Within the last week, the Washington Capitals have lost to the best team in both the Western and Eastern Conference, respectively: the Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers. On Thursday night on Long Island, the Capitals will not face one of the NHL's elite, but a pesky New York Islanders team that has recently given them more than they bargained for.

The Caps defeated the Islanders 2-1 in their only previous meeting of the season October 13, but the two teams have gone to overtime five times in their last nine games against each other. It might be best for the Capitals to avoid overtime this time around; they are just 6-8 in overtime this season and have lost three straight games after 60 minutes.

Washington has been dealing with a revolving door of injuries all season, but Michal Neuvirth has been added to the list. Neuvirth left Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Flyers because of a lower-body injury that sent him back to Washington for further evaluation. The Caps are already without Alexander Semin, Eric Fehr, Tom Poti and Matt Bradley, but Semyon Varlamov should be ready to play Thursday after head coach Bruce Boudreau gave him a maintenance day. In Neuvirth's absence, the Caps recalled Braden Holtby from AHL Hershey.

Meanwhile, the islanders are hoping that one of their star players will finally return from injury. Kyle Okposo could make his season debut Thursday after missing three months following shoulder surgery in September. Okposo scored 19 goals and added 33 assists in 80 games for the Islanders last season.

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