UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ The game was scoreless when high-flying Alexei Yashin
came in on a rush with defenseman Roman Hamrlik.
Everyone was looking for the man with nearly 300 NHL goals to fire a shot.
That's everyone, Hamrlik included.
``I passed the puck and I was yelling 'Shoot, shoot the puck,'' Hamrlik
Instead, Yashin slid a pass down to Hamrlik, who deftly beat goalie Olaf
Kolzig and sent the New York Islanders on their way to a 3-0 victory Tuesday
night over the Washington Capitals.
Yashin also scored his 289th goal and created traffic in front of Kolzig
when another defenseman, Adrian Aucoin, scored. Rick DiPietro made 17 saves in
recording his second straight shutout.
DiPietro stretched his shutout streak to 136 minutes, 58 seconds, dating to
Friday's 3-1 victory over Minnesota. He blanked Eastern Conference-leading
Tampa Bay 3-0 on Sunday, and then stymied the Capitals to complete a three-game
The Islanders posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since Tommy
Salo did it at Tampa Bay and St. Louis in October 1998.
``It was great, especially with my dad here,'' said DiPietro, who has
stopped 134 of 141 shots the past five games. ``Usually he calls himself a
bad-luck charm. Everytime he seems to come I seem to lose.''
The Islanders were certainly motivated to play Tampa Bay, but they started
sluggishly against the young and struggling Capitals.
``It was a must win, I honestly believe that,'' New York coach Steve
Stirling said. ``If you don't come and get these two points, then the two
points against Tampa Bay would've meant nothing.''
The Islanders extended their lead over Buffalo to eight points in the race
for eighth place in the East.
``I think eight points with six games remaining is a pretty solid cushion,
but we have to continue to grow and continue to play well, because the team
going into the playoffs the hottest has got the upper hand,'' DiPietro said.
Yashin set up Hamrlik's goal in the first period, distracted Kolzig on
Aucoin's score in the second, and netted his 13th goal just 1:17 later to make
The Islanders split the four-game season series with the lowly Capitals, a
monumental achievement compared to how they usually fare against Washington.
``It was a big test,'' Yashin said. ``They try to come out with a bunch of
young guys and they try to work hard.''
New York beat the Capitals, last in the Southeast Division, for just the
second time in 15 home meetings (2-12-1) _ its previous victory coming on April
6, 2002. The Islanders are 3-24-3-1 in their last 31 games with Washington,
which lost its fifth straight road game.
Late in the first period, Hamrlik stole the puck in the neutral zone and
skated up ice. He passed to Yashin, who carried the puck between the circles
before returning it to Hamrlik for a quick shot that beat Olaf Kolzig.
Washington rode a potent power play the previous two games, scoring six
times in 13 opportunities. But the Capitals' inability to cash in on a two-man
advantage led to their downfall.
The Capitals were 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period, and they
had a five-on-three advantage for 56 seconds in the middle frame. Just 1:04
after Kenny Jonsson was sent off for tripping, the Islanders were called for
too many men on the ice.
``Our last seven goals have been power-play goals,'' coach Glen Hanlon said
after the Capitals finished 0-for-4 on the advantage. ``We have to score on the
power play. Five-on-five, we didn't generate any offense.''
Washington's only shot with both players in the box came when DiPietro made
an impressive stop on Kip Miller at the right post. The Capitals managed two
more futile shots during the second half of the advantage.
``I don't know how the puck went to Kip,'' DiPietro said. ``I was kind of
flopping around there and fortunately I got my glove on it.''
Just 39 seconds after the Islanders returned to full strength, Aucoin got a
shot from the right point through traffic to make it 2-0.
Yashin scored from near the goal line to finish off the offense.