WASHINGTON — Andrew McDonald scored early in the third period and Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves for his 57th career shutout as the New York Islanders broke a five-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals.
McDonald’s slap shot from the point went past screened goalie Michal Neuvirth and just under the crossbar with 17:44 to play. The Islanders scored only one goal for the third straight game — but at least this time it was enough to win.
Nabokov, making his third start since returning from a groin injury, posted his second shutout of the season and is 19th on the all-time NHL list.
Neuvirth stopped 27 shots for the Capitals, who have lost 10 of 13 to tumble toward the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, only seven points ahead of the last-place Islanders. Washington has been shut out four times this season.
The Islanders came out on top in a dullard of a game in which the teams seemingly tried to top each other in trying to find the best way to waste a scoring chance. Players whiffed on open one-timers, power plays went awry, and the frame of the net kept getting in the way.
Washington’s Eric Fehr hit the right post in the first period, and teammate Troy Brouwer missed wide left when he had half of the net wide open on a power play early in the second. Brouwer was so exasperated he slumped his shoulders and looked to the sky as play continued.
New York’s Cal Clutterbuck hit the intersection of the crossbar and right post on a short-handed attempt midway through the second, and teammate Kyle Okposo put one off the right post later in the period. There were five penalties in the final 2½ minutes of the second period, which left the Islanders with a 5-on-3 for the first 12 seconds of the third.
The Capitals killed off the two-man deficit as well as the ensuing 5-on-4, largely because of a sliding glove save by Neuvirth on Frans Nielsen.
But McDonald found the target shortly after the penalty expired for the defenseman’s fourth goal of the season. The Islanders had a chance to double their score when Michael Grabner was awarded a penalty shot when grabbed from behind by John Carlson while the Capitals were on a power play, but Neuvirth made the pad save.
NOTES: Carlson played in his 271st consecutive game, tying Calle Johansson for the longest streak by a defenseman in franchise history. … Washington D Mike Green missed his third consecutive game with a concussion, and LW Aaron Volpatti sat out with an upper-body injury.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)