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New York Islanders

Islanders Outshot In Shutout Win Over Caps



AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Washington, D.C.– The New York Islanders were outshot and out-chanced, but the only numbers that mattered at Capital One Arena against the Washington Capitals were that of the final score. The Islanders won 3-0 on Thursday night in a strange game where the result didn’t quite match the lopsided in-game statistics.

The Capitals threw the kitchen sink at Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov but couldn’t actually hit him with it. Of the immense amount of shots Washington took, only 32 reached Varlamov in goal as he put together his second straight shutout performance. In front of him, the Islanders blocked 22 shots while the Capitals sent even more wide of the net.

“I always appreciate the guys working hard in front of me,” Varlamov said. “Blocking a lot of shots, that’s what is good about this team, every time they have a chance. It always helps.”

Scott Mayfield led the team with three block shots and assisted on Brock Nelson‘s second-period goal that pushed the Islanders’ lead to 3-0.

Pierre Engvall collected an assist on the goal as well.

Thursday’s game was Mayfield’s first in nearly three weeks after missing the Islanders’ last seven games with a lower-body injury he sustained in their opening night win on Oct. 14.

“I’m just happy to be back,” Mayfield said. “Certain things happen. At NHL speed, you can’t predict what’s going to happen every second. It was nice just to get the first one done.”

Varlamov’s shutout bid was nearly spoiled in the third period after a shot from Hardy Haman Aktell trickled past the goal line, but the goal was waived off after review as T.J. Oshie was called for goalie interference.

Washington led the game in chances high-danger scoring chances, 18-9, per NaturalStatTrick, but the difference was the Islanders made the most of theirs.

Fans at Capital One Arena had barely settled into their seats before Ryan Pulock got the Islanders on the board 22 seconds into the first. Nelson and Kyle Palmieri assisted on the wrist shot that Pulock ripped from the point past a screened Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper for his first goal of the season.

“There was a great forecheck,” Pulock said. “The forwards got it up to me, and I just made a shot with good traffic in front. Early in a game like that, to get a lead obviously helps. It gives you a chance to settle in a little bit.”

The Islanders doubled their lead in the first when Simon Holmstrom notched his second goal of the year. Set up on a breakout pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Holmstrom crossed over a defender with a move along the boards in the neutral zone, springing himself and Hudson Fashcing free on a 2-on-1 chance that he used to beat Kuemper with a shot high glove side.

“It was an unreal play by [Holmstrom],” Fashcing said. “He battled for the puck on the wall and then beat that guy. We almost ran into each other a little bit there. Good on him to kind of see me there and get the puck to me and then get open.”

Like Mayfield, Fasching also returned to the lineup, skating on the third line against the Capitals after sitting out the last five games as a healthy scratch.

“I thought he was good, and I thought that line was excellent,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “I thought Hudson took pucks to the net and played the way he needed to play. ”

The two shots from Pulock and Holmstrom were the only shots the Islanders had in the first period, as Kuemper struggled in goal all night for the Capitals, stopping 18 of the 21 shots he faced.

The Islanders didn’t come out of the victory unscathed, as defenseman Adam Pelech left the game clutching his midsection in the first period and did not return.

Lambert had no update on Pelech postgame. It is unclear at this point if he will be ready to play for the Islanders in their next game, Saturday at UBS Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes.




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