Islanders fall in shootout to the now first-place Capitals

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the deciding goal of the shootout, giving the Washington Capitals a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum to reclaim sole possession of first place in the East Division.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 shots through overtime for his second shutout of the season and third of his career. Washington won for the seventh time in 11 games.

Semyon Varlamov, who had a 29-save shutout in the teams’ last meeting on April 6, finished with 28 saves through overtime in this one. However, he gave up two goals on three attempts in the shootout.

The Islanders fell one point behind the Capitals, tied for second place with Pittsburgh — which beat New Jersey 5-1. Boston is another three points back in fourth.

After Anthony Beauvilier beat Samsonov with a backhand in the second round of the tiebreaker, Nicklas Backstrom scored off the crossbar and in to tie it. Brock Nelson misfired on the Islanders’ attempt in the third round before Kuznetsov beat Varlamov on the stickside to give the Capitals the win.

The Islanders controlled the puck for most of the extra period, with each team managing one shot on goal. The Capitals also had a shot by Lars Eller go wide.

The teams meet again Saturday back at the Nassau Coliseum and Tuesday in Washington.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scores the game-winning shootout goal on Semyon Varlamov in the Islanders' 1-0 loss to the Capitals.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scores the game-winning shootout goal on Semyon Varlamov in the Islanders’ 1-0 loss to the Capitals.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

After a Capitals turnover late in the third, Mathew Barzal skated in, got around Dmitry Orlov and skated in on Samsonov but lifted a forehand shot over the goal with 4:15 left.

Varlamov made a save off the shaft of his stick on a shot by Orlov about 2 minutes later. T.J. Oshie had two tries in close from the right side with 1:30 left, but couldn(t get anything past the Islanders’ goalie.

Much like the teams’ last matchup, this game was scoreless after two periods. The Islanders won that previous meeting 1-0 with Nelson scoring the game’s only goal in the third period.

After getting outworked in the first period this time, Washington flipped the script in the second and outshot New York 14-7.

The Islanders outshot the Capitals 15-4 in a fast-paced and physical first period. Barzal had the Islanders’ best scoring chance as he skated in alone on Samsonov on a breakaway, but was denied by the Capitals goalie.

Washington defenseman Nick Jensen hobbled off the ice midway through the first period after getting hit in his foot by a slap shot from Ryan Pulock. He returned later.