WASHINGTON -- A five-game winless streak that included two losses to the hated Rangers, one of those outdoors at Yankee Stadium. Thomas Vanek spurning their big contract offer and likely headed out the door.
The Islanders needed some good news after a run of bad news and bad results the last week or so. They got some with a 1-0 win over the Capitals last night, a lunch-pail effort in keeping Alex Ovechkin and the Caps' power play quiet in a 22-save shutout for Evgeni Nabokov.
"That's a win we haven't been getting this year," said Kyle Okposo, who was part of an Islanders power play that went 0-for-5 and is on an 0-for-25 skid. "It was tight the whole way and we haven't been good in those tight games down the stretch."
The Islanders grabbed the lead 2:16 into the third on Andrew MacDonald's slap shot from the left point through traffic and over Michal Neuvirth's shoulder. Rather than hanging on for dear life, the Islanders still were aggressive over the remainder of the third even as they handed the Caps two more power plays.
Michael Grabner earned a penalty shot on a shorthanded breakaway that Neuvirth turned aside with 11:34 to go and Lubomir Visnovsky took a tripping penalty on Ovechkin with 3:05 left. But the Islanders killed off that sixth Caps power play in strong fashion, a complete turnaround from their last visit here. The Caps scored four power-play goals in a 6-2 thrashing on Nov. 5 that started an Isles tailspin in the standings and on the penalty kill, which entered last night last in the league.
"We know he shoots everything," Nabokov said of Ovechkin, who had 10 shot attempts but only three on net. "Maybe we made it a little harder on him. We tried to do a good job in every little part of the game."
The Islanders have two games left before the Olympic break. Now at least they have a small bit to smile about after a week of disappointments.