The undermanned Washington Capitals will try to go for a second straight victory when they host the New York Islanders on Thursday evening.
Washington played Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Islanders without Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and goalie Ilya Samsonov, all of whom remain onthe COVID-19 protocol list. Tom Wilson also missed the game due to a lower-body injury from last Friday.
Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom left Tuesday's game late in the third period and did not return. Also, Lars Eller suffered a crunching hit from New York's Leo Komarov. It was ruled a five-minute boarding call, and even though the game was tied at 2-2, Washington couldn't score.
The Capitals then won the game when Justin Schultz ripped a shot past Semyon Varlamov with 26.4 seconds left, handing the goalie his first loss this season. Washington (4-0-3) now has recorded a point in its first seven games. It's just the second time Washington has done that. The 2011-12 season was the other, when the Caps opened that campaign with a 7-0-0 start.
"We've got a little bit of adversity right now, and we're still finding a way to get points," T.J. Oshie told the media. "I think in the long run that's going to be very big for us."
Rookie Vitek Vanecek continues to play well in place of Samsonov. He's now 3-0-2 with a 2.70 goals-against average. He's been solid in net when the Caps have needed him.
There was no update on any of the injured players after the game and on Wednesday.
The Islanders scored twice in a row and held a 2-1 lead in the second period before Washington notched the game's two final goals for a big comeback win.
"I warned our group about the play from the Caps," New York coach Barry Trotz said. "They were galvanizing in terms of rallying around the guys that were out. With the new people that they have, in terms of staff and some players, they're playing a systematic, hard, work-detailed game. They're going the distance on everything. They're playing hard and fast. I give them credit, but at the same time it's a missed opportunity for us."
The Islanders played hard and stayed right with Washington, even drawing three second-period penalties. Noah Dobson and Mathew Barzal scored the New York goals, and Varlamov (34 saves) played another solid game.
Varlamov came into the game with a 3-0 record and an 0.33 GAA. Now, he's 3-1 with a 1.00 GAA. He made a number of tough saves, and the New York defense came up big during the five-minute penalty kill late in the third period.
The Islanders lost Anthony Beauvillier as he was put on the injured reserve list Tuesday thanks to a lower-body injury. That means he'll be out for at least a week. New York is in the midst of a five-game road trip -- dropping the first two -- and Beauvillier will miss the rest of it.
--Field Level Media