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game recap

Varlamov, Cizikas help Islanders hold off Capitals

Goalie makes 36 saves, 18 in third period; center scores twice for New York

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

Cizikas scores second of game

NYI@WSH: Cizikas rifles wrister in for second goal

Matt Martin slides the puck between defenders to Casey Cizikas, who fires a wrist shot in for his 2nd goal of the game, evening the score at 3

  • 00:43 •

WASHINGTON -- Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves, 18 in the third period, to help the New York Islanders defeat the Washington Capitals 4-3 at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

Casey Cizikas scored two goals for the Islanders (25-10-3), who have won two in a row after losing three straight.

Tom Kuhnhackl put the Islanders ahead 4-3 at 12:34 of the second period when he got a pass from Mathew Barzal and put a shot from the left circle over Braden Holtby's right shoulder.

"Obviously playing with [Barzal] and [Anders Lee], two really offensively talented guys, they're just going make sure you create some space for them and they'll find the open space, and I was lucky enough the shot went in," Kuhnhackl said.


[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Capitals higlights]


The Capitals had a 6-on-4 advantage after Holtby was pulled for an extra attacker and Scott Mayfield was called for tripping at 19:00 of the third period.

"I thought [Varlamov] was great. He made some big saves when needed," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "They had some good looks. Obviously, he had to battle. They had lots of traffic there at the end."

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two goals for the Capitals (27-9-5), who lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season and are 1-3-0 in their past four. Holtby made 18 saves.

"Pretty good hockey from both teams, but some of the mistakes we made, they kind of hurt," Kuznetsov said. "We had the whole third period to get a goal back, but we didn't. It's tough to lose this type of game, especially to a division opponent, right? But it is what it is. We have to learn from this game."

Video: NYI@WSH: Kuznetsov nets patient goal from in close

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 7:13 of the first period when Cizikas made an acrobatic deflection of a shot by Mayfield.

"The puck was finding me out there," Cizikas said. "That first one, [Mayfield] made a great play to find me in the high slot. I was just able to get a stick on it and Marty [Matt] was in front with his big body kind of creating havoc there."

Brock Nelson made it 2-0 at 10:39 from just outside the right circle with a wrist shot.

Video: NYI@WSH: Nelson roofs wrister from outside circle

The Capitals made it 2-1 at 10:53 when Kuznetsov took a centering pass from Dmitry Orlov, deked around Varlamov and tucked the puck into the net. Nicklas Backstrom set up the tying goal when he skated around the net, spun and centered the puck to Tom Wilson, who tapped it in from the top of the crease to make it 2-2 at 14:17.

Kuznetsov gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead when he beat Varlamov with a wrist shot from the slot 44 seconds into the second period.

"I really liked his game," Washington coach Todd Reirden said of Kuznetsov. "Besides the two goals, he had some other chances and set up some other plays."

Casey Cizikas tied it 3-3 when he shot between two defenders on the rush at 4:27.

"I've got to make a save on that fourth goal," Holtby said. "It's as simple as that. I thought we played well most areas. Just can't happen."


They said it

"That's a massive win for us, for the guys in this room. We're building towards something and we're getting back to our game and tonight is a massive way to kind of do that." -- Islanders center Casey Cizikas

"We haven't been as sharp as we were at different points in the season. The mistakes we're making now are ending up in our net, so we've got to continue to grow our game. It's definitely not a finished product, and something we've got to focus on here in the second half of the year is cleaning up some areas." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Need to know

New York is 3-0-0 at Capital One Arena under Trotz, who coached Washington to the Stanley Cup in 2018 before resigning and joining New York. ... The Islanders are 22-1-2 when scoring at least three goals (including overtime/shootout winners). … The Capitals finished the 2010s with 465 wins, the most in the NHL and the third-highest total in any decade, trailing the 1970s Montreal Canadiens (501) and Boston Bruins (487). ... Washington forward Alex Ovechkin led the NHL with 437 goals in the 2010s; Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning was second with 363 entering Tuesday. Backstrom is No. 1 in assists with 512, six more Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers entering Tuesday.


What's next

Islanders: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday (Nassau Coliseum; 7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, NBCSWA+, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Video: Cizikas, Varlamov help Islanders defeat Capitals

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