Uniondale, NY – John Tavares scored a pair of power-play goals just 30 seconds apart in the third period to propel the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum.
Frans Nielsen added a shorthanded goal later in the third to seal it for the Islanders, who bounced back from Thursday's overtime loss to the Rangers with their third win in four games. Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas also scored for New York, which received 22 saves from Evgeni Nabokov.
"We tried to bury every chance we had today," said Cizikas. "We just wanted to get shots on net and make him make the saves and get traffic in front. I thought we did a good job of that tonight."
Philipp Grubauer made his first NHL start in net for the Capitals and was blitzed with 45 shots, including 19 in the third period. Joel Ward and Nicklas Backstrom scored for Washington, which had a three-game win streak stopped and lost for only the second time in its last seven games.
Backstrom tied the game at 2-2 just over seven minutes into the third with a blast from the top of the slot after a neat tic-tac-toe passing sequence, but the Islanders dominated from there.
Washington's Mike Ribeiro was given a pair of minors at the 8:48 mark, first for high-sticking and then for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the Islanders took advantage.
Lubomir Visnovsky's shot from the point was deflected to the left side of the crease and Brad Boyes was able to kick the puck back toward the middle for Tavares, who slammed the puck into the empty side of the cage.
Jeff Schultz then took a double-minor for high-sticking a few seconds later and Tavares capitalized again when he deflected home a right-circle pass from Matt Moulson for his 16th goal of the season and the 100th of his career.
"Penalties killed us in this game and that's the story," said Washington head coach Adam Oates. "You know, we held them for a while but then they took advantage of our mistakes."
After Colin McDonald went off for hooking with 3:10 remaining to give the Caps one last chance, it was the Islanders who benefitted while a man short. Nielsen kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and snapped a shot from the right circle past Grubauer for his third goal this season.
Grubauer, recalled from Hershey on Thursday with Michal Neuvirth sidelined by an illness, got the start with Braden Holtby expected to play Sunday afternoon against the Rangers. Grubauer made his NHL debut on Feb. 27 at Philadelphia.
The Islanders opened the scoring midway through the first period when Bailey converted a 2-on-1 feed from Nielsen into his second goal of the season.
Washington cashed in a power play just 1:26 into the second to tie it. John Carlson's point shot was stopped, but Ward and Mathieu Perreault got to the rebound first. Ward was credited with the goal, although it appeared that Perreault's stick swept a shot that hit the skate of Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic and found the empty cage.
Cizikas put New York back in front midway through the second with a wrister from the right circle.
The Islanders wrapped up a seven-game homestand with a 3-2-2 mark ... New York improved to 3-0-3 in its last six meetings with Washington. This was the first of three matchups this season and the only meeting on Long Island ... Capitals defenseman John Erskine left the contest with an upper-body injury.