WASHINGTON (AP) - Ryan Smyth is already feeling comfortable in his new surroundings and the New York Islanders' power play is benefiting from his presence.
Smyth scored his first goal with New York, Miroslav Satan scored twice and the Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals 6-2 on Saturday night.
"One of my strengths is getting the privilege to play on the power play and to get the ice time I get," said Smith, who scored his 32nd goal - the Islanders' last and his first since coming from Edmonton at the trade deadline earlier this week - with 2:54 remaining in the game. "You want to contribute."
Mike Sillinger, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Chris Simon also scored for the Islanders, who have won five of six and recorded points in 17 of 19. New York's three power-play goals tied a season high.
The victory moved the seventh-place Islanders within a point of Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoff race, where four points separated fifth through eighth places entering Saturday. New York pulled two points ahead of eighth-place Carolina.
"Nobody can do it but who's in this locker room," said Smyth. "We need to play with confidence and conviction."
Smyth, playing his second game with New York, was acquired to bolster the Islanders' post-season chances. His inclusion on the power play has transformed a group previously focused on perimeter passing into one possessing a net-attacking mind-set.
"It's obviously his presence at the net," Sillinger said of Smyth. "And every time the puck goes in the corner, he always comes up with the puck. He's really strong with the puck."
Brian Pothier and Brian Sutherby tallied for Washington, which has dropped nine of 10 games and lost for the sixth straight game at home.
The Capitals struggled to create offence with a shuffled, injury-depleted lineup despite a 29-26 edge in shots.
After dealing away Richard Zednik, Dainius Zubrus, Jamie Heward and Lawrence Nycholat before the Feb. 27 deadline, the Capitals lost Boyd Gordon (sore knee) and Matt Pettinger (broken right thumb) in Thursday night's loss to Tampa Bay. Washington's Kris Beech left in the second period after taking a puck off the knee.
"Five-on-five, we played pretty well," Sutherby said. "We took some penalties and got behind the eight-ball. We're missing some key penalty kill guys and when you lose those guys out of your lineup, it obviously hurts."
Power-play goals by Sillinger and Satan gave the Islanders a 2-0 first-period lead.
With Smyth crashing the net, Sillinger swept in a shot from the left circle that caromed in off the right leg of goaltender Brent Johnson at 10:43. Satan's goal came with 1:32 left in the opening period, a right-post stuff after Sean Hill's slapper from centre-point had trickled through Johnson.
A double-minor against Donald Brashear erased a Capitals power play and set the stage for Bergeron's man-advantage goal 7:05 into the second. From the right point, Bergeron one-timed Tom Poti's cross-ice pass, clanging in his 10th goal off the left upright. The Islanders matched a season high with three power-play goals.
With 3:34 remaining in the second, Simon's goal put the Islanders up 4-0. From behind the goal line to the left of the net, Simon squeezed a shot between Johnson's leg and the post.
Satan scored his second goal - 23rd of the season - five minutes into the third period on a shot from the left circle. Pothier and Sutherby scored 24 seconds apart later in the period.
Notes: Islanders G Rick DiPietro made a career-high 14th consecutive start. ... Poti, Bergeron and Viktor Kozlov had two assists each. ... New York played without D Bruno Gervais (ankle), C Shawn Bates (abdominal surgery) and C Alexei Yashin (knee). ... Zednik assisted on Satan's second goal, his first point in three games since the Feb. 26 trade. ... Washington's Alex Ovechkin had a three-game goal-scoring streak halted.