January 25, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 40 Recap: Caps extend division lead with win over Islanders


(Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nate Schmidt scored his second goal of the season, and Braden Holtby made 34 saves as the Capitals extended their lead in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-1 win over the second-place New York Islanders on Thursday night in Brooklyn.

A strong forecheck was the name of the game in the first period for Washington, whose 63 standings points are good enough for a league-best, one game shy of the season’s midway point. Nine of their 10 first-period shots came from their forwards, two of which found their way past Jaroslav Halak. Alex Ovechkin’s 22nd of the season was the 497th of his career, as he approaches the coveted 500 goal mark with his career barely a decade old.

Marcus Johansson was sent to the penalty box 8:42 into the game for an illegal check to Thomas Hickey’s head, a play which will more likely than not garner further attention from the league’s disciplinary office.

Nate Schmidt’s tally came late in the second period, after Brock Nelson cut the Washington lead to 2-1. Nicklas Backstrom added an empty-net goal with 2:42 remaining.

The Capitals’ 30th win pushes their division lead to 14 points, and their first regular season game at the Barclays Center was their best road game in some time.

How’s this for a bit of perspective on how this team has performed thus far?

New signee Mike Richards did not suit up, and his status for Saturday night’s game against the Rangers is yet to be determined. John Carlson was retroactively placed on injured reserve earlier on Thursday to make room for Richards.

Three stars

  • Third star: Jaroslav Halak (34 saves)
  • Second star: Nicklas Backstrom (1 goal, 1 assist)
  • First star: Braden Holtby (34 saves)
About Eric Hobeck

Eric Hobeck is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Capitals. Eric contributes to high school sports coverage at InsideNova.com. He served as sports editor of The Rotunda at Longwood University for two years, where he was also the men’s basketball beat writer. He hosted a campus radio show for three years and called basketball and baseball games for the station’s award-winning sports team. You can follow Eric on Twitter @eric_hobeck.

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