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game recap

Islanders clinch second in Metropolitan with shutout of Capitals

Will have home ice in playoffs for first time since 1988 against Penguins

by Harvey Valentine / NHL.com Correspondent

Filppula's superb breakaway tally

NYI@WSH: Toews sets up Filppula's breakaway goal

Devon Toews lofts the puck from the other end of the ice to Valtteri Filppula, who makes a move to his forehand and scores on a breakaway

  • 00:55 •

WASHINGTON -- The New York Islanders clinched second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-0 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

Valtteri Filppula scored twice for New York (48-27-7) after missing seven games because of a hyperextended elbow, and Robin Lehner made 29 saves for his sixth shutout of the season.

The Islanders, who finished the regular season by winning six of their last eight games, will have home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who finished third in the Metropolitan.

 

[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Capitals highlights]

 

It's the first time New York will have home-ice advantage in a playoff series since 1988.

"We really wanted home ice," Lehner said. "We've seen how special the [Nassau] Coliseum's been and all the fans and it's going to be a really fun series. They're a good team. It's going to be a good challenge. If we stick to our game, I like our chances."

Lehner and Thomas Greiss will share the William M. Jennings Trophy for the Islanders, who allowed the fewest goals (191) in the NHL after giving up a League-high 293 last season.

"It's a team award," New York coach Barry Trotz said. "But it starts in the pipes between [Greiss] and Robin giving us consistent goaltending for the most part all year, making big saves at key times. And then the rest, in terms of structure, work ethic and commitment, everybody else contributed to that."

Video: Lehner, Bishop earn Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutouts

Pheonix Copley made 21 saves for Washington (48-26-8), which clinched its fourth straight Metropolitan Division championship and home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs with a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Capitals will play the Carolina Hurricanes, the first wild card in the East, in the first round.

"You got to go out there and just work hard and try and execute and you know it was a tighter game I think than the score showed," Washington forward Tom Wilson said. "There were good parts of the game, but you know it is what it is. We'll just put that one behind us and get ready for the big games coming up."

Filppula made it 1-0 at 2:55 of the second period when a long pass from Devon Toews sent him in on a breakaway and he deked to his right before lifting the puck over Copley.

The Islanders extended their lead to 2-0 at 10:54 of the third period when Filppula fed Adam Pelech at the Capitals blue line, took the return pass behind the defense and beat Copley for his second goal of the game.

Video: NYI@WSH: Filppula finishes give-and-go for his second

"To be honest, I just was really happy to have a chance to play one before [the playoffs]," said Filppula, who was injured March 19. "Obviously [we] wanted to win, but personally just to get moving a little bit more and have a few game-like situations, I think it's going to be a big help. Obviously, goals are a bonus."

Matt Martin scored an empty-net goal at 17:27 for the 3-0 final.

Video: NYI@WSH: Martin scores empty-netter to extend lead

"I don't think we puts lots of pressure on their D," said Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who finished the regular season with 51 goals. "We were kind of waiting for what was going to happen. Obviously, we're not going to play like that in the playoffs."

 

They said it

"[We] had a great track on that first goal, turned that into transition. A couple of big saves by Robin when we needed it. It was sort of symbolic of how we played all year." -- Islanders coach Barry Trotz

"Give them credit. The team over there, they played pretty stifling. They played how they had to to get a win, but now it's on for us so I think guys are excited for that." -- Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen

 

Need to know

The Islanders set a single-season team record with 11 shutouts; they had 10 in 1975-76. … New York finished 38-2-2 when it scored at least three goals. … It was Filppula's third two-goal game of the season. … The Capitals scratched center Nicklas Backstrom, forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman John Carlson.

 

What's next

Islanders: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round (Nassau Coliseum; TBA)

Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round (TBA)

Video: Isles defeat Caps to clinch home-ice in First Round

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