Buoyed by a 38-save shutout from Jaroslav Halak, the New York Islanders won their third straight game, beating the Washington Capitals 3-0 at Verizon Center.
Halak picked up his first shutout of the season on Thursday, keeping the Islanders in a scoreless tie heading into the third period. Tied in the third on the road against the Capitals, the Islanders pounced on their opportunity, getting goals from Shane Prince, Brock Nelson and former-Capital Jason Chimera.
"We're playing back-to-back with tough travel. To be going into the third period 0-0 in a tie game is exactly what we want," said Prince, who scored the game-winner via breakaway at 3:15 of the third. "We wanted to steal that one and get the train rolling here, that's three in a row now."
Video: NYI@WSH: Prince fires a wrister past Holtby's glove
Halak and the penalty kill kept the Islanders alive through the first 42 minutes on Thursday, killing off five (six total) Capitals power plays. The Capitals finished the night with six shots on their six power plays, but nearly every one of them was a scoring chance - and that doesn't include an Alex Ovechkin shot off the crossbar, or Justin Williams' called-back goal at the end of the first.
"It was a big two points for us," Halak said. "The guys put in all the effort and we played the whole game really well, especially the PK."
As good as the team was in front of Halak, he was called upon to make some big-time saves early. The Isles goalie stopped a Tom Wilson breakaway early in the first period, as well as Brett Connolly and Lars Eller on a pair of backdoor plays, sliding over in the nick of time.
"It turns the momentum," Nelson said. "We can feed off that and know he's behind us and is going to make those big saves if there's a breakdown."
The Islanders rewarded their goalie's effort with some offense. Less than a minute after the team's fifth penalty kill, Casey Cizikas worked the puck up to Prince who sped in a snapped a shot past Braden Holtby.
Video: NYI@WSH: Nelson buries a rebound past Holtby
After generating a host of good chances in Wednesday's win over Pittsburgh, the John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Nelson line came together on the Islanders second goal. Bailey forced a turnover off the forecheck, Tavares sent the initial shot on goal and Nelson swooped in to bury the rebound at 6:43.
Chimera added the insurance marker a minute later, threading a backhand over Holtby's shoulder; his second goal in as many games.
"We were opportunistic," Chimera said.
Video: NYI@WSH: Chimera pads lead with perfect backhander
Thursday's win was the Islanders second in as many nights against a top-tier divisional opponent and was another confidence booster for a team that was dealing with hard luck a week ago.
"If you look at the bad bounces and the late games that we kind of blew we could have a great record right now. It's unfortunate, but it's just how our season has gone right now," Prince said. "To be able to string three in a row together, especially on a back-to-back against two of the best teams in the league is huge for us. We have to build off of it and keep going."
The Islanders return home Sunday to face the Detroit Red Wings. Puck drop is at 6 p.m.