WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Beauvillier scored twice, Josh Bailey had three assists and the New York Islanders kept Alex Ovechkin stuck at 698 career goals in beating the Washington Capitals 5-3 Monday night.
With all eyes on Ovechkin’s attempt to become the eighth member of the NHL’s 700-goal club, the Islanders jumped out to a 5-1 lead and held on to hand the Capitals a second consecutive regulation loss at home. Washington also lost center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a scary-looking upper-body injury when he was crunched into the boards in the second period.
Beauvillier scored the game’s first two goals, taking advantage of defensive miscues by the Capitals. Ensuing goals by Leo Komarov, Devon Toews and Jordan Eberle brought the hook for Washington rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who allowed five on 20 shots but shouldn’t be blamed for four of them.
This was the second consecutive game the Capitals pulled their starting goalie. Braden Holtby, who got yanked after allowing seven goals on 25 shots behind a similarly weak defensive performance Saturday against Philadelphia, this time stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief.
Islanders counterpart Thomas Greiss made 25 saves to pick up his 16th victory of the season. Barry Trotz improved to 4-0 in Washington as Islanders coach since leading the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018.
Trotz earlier Monday reiterated he thought Ovechkin was the best goal-scorer in NHL history. The offensive star he helped turn into a better all-around player came very close to scoring his 699th career goal with Trotz watching.
Midway through the first period, a shot from John Carlson deflected in past Greiss with Ovechkin and Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk tied up in front of the net. It took several minutes before official scorers gave the goal to Carlson and not Ovechkin because the puck only hit off Boychuk.
Teammate T.J. Oshie scored a power-play goal from Ovechkin’s trademark spot in the left faceoff circle in the second. Then, Greiss turned aside Ovechkin on his best chance of the night early in the third.
New York won for the fourth time in six games to strengthen its position in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.
NOTES: Trotz opted to insert big forward Ross Johnston into the lineup in place of rookie Kieffer Bellows because of the Capitals’ size. Johnston fought Garnet Hathaway in the second period. … Washington scratched rugged D Radko Gudas in the aftermath of its 7-2 loss Saturday to the Flyers with Nick Jensen getting back in.
Islanders: Semyon Varlamov is expected to start in goal when they return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
Capitals: Ovechkin will continue his pursuit of 700 goals when they open a three-game Western Conference road trip Thursday at the Colorado Avalanche.