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.