Riding a four-game winning streak the Washington Capitals came into Barclays Center in Brooklyn for first time this season to face a New York Islanders team who despite being in the cellar of the Metropolitan Division has earned a point in six of their last seven games (5-1-1). The Caps would succeed in extending their winning streak to five straight thanks to stick of defensemen Matt Niskanen, which has been silent this season until tonight. Niskanen recorded his second career two-goal game with his last coming back on March 4, 2014 against Nashville back when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Defensemen Matt Niskanen, after 26 games, finally scored his first goal of the 2016-17 season at 1:34 into the third period to break a 2-2 tie; Niskanen would also score the game sealing goal on a power play at 18:02 in the third. Winger Brett Connolly was put into the lineup tonight replacing Andre Burakovsky, who was a healthy scratch for the Caps due to the noticeable decline in his game since scoring his only two goals this season in opener. Connolly definitely made the most of his time tonight scoring a goal in the second period for his 3rd goal of the season and his first goal and point since November 25th. Veteran winger Justin Williams continued on his current hot streak tonight scoring on a deflection during a power play in the second period, Williams has scored four goals in his past four games. Caps rookie winger Jakub Vrana had a very productive game that could help keep him around with two assists, center Evgeny Kuznetsov also assisted tonight for the fifth straight game. Caps goalie Braden Holtby stopped 26 pucks tonight and is now 12-2-3 in 17 career games against the Isles.
Isles winger Brock Nelson scored the first tally mid-way through the first period for his 7th of the season and his second this season against Washington. Nelson broke a goalless drought which dated back to the last game the Isles played the Caps this season back on December 1st. Fellow winger Nikolai Kulemin would add his 3rd goal of the season late in the second period to tie the game 2-2, this was Kulemin’s first goal since November 30th. Six different Islanders each earned a point tonight. Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak, who shut out the Caps last time back on December 1st, recorded 34 saves but let in two crucial goals in the third period.
Washington now takes a 2-1 lead in the season series with New York and will meet at Barclays Center two more times this season. Next game for the Caps will be Friday night in Carolina against the Hurricanes. Game time will be 7:30 PM/ET.
About the Author
Written by Brendan Keelan
Former High School and College athlete (football, Wesley College).