December 31, 2019 / 9:02 PM / 25 days ago

Kuhnhackl's goal helps Islanders edge Capitals

Tom Kuhnhackl scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period, and Casey Cizikas had two goals as the visiting New York Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in a New Year’s Eve matinee on Tuesday.

Dec 31, 2019; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams came out firing. The Islanders scored on two of their first three shots and rallied from a one-goal deficit in the second period, taking the lead for good on Kuhnhackl’s goal with 7:26 left.

Washington has lost two in a row for just the third time this season, while the Islanders have won two straight. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby continued to struggle; he has dropped three in a row, allowing 13 goals in those three games.

New York goalie Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves to beat his former team and blanked the Caps in the third period, including stopping Washington a power play in the final minute.

Cizikas gave New York a 1-0 lead when he slickly deflected teammate Scott Mayfield’s shot past Holtby at 7:13 of the first period.

Brock Nelson made it 2-0 on a wrist shot just past the halfway mark of that period.

But Washington bounced back quickly. The Islanders turned it over in their zone, and Evgeny Kuznetsov took a quick Dmitry Orlov pass, faked out Varlamov and scored just 14 seconds after Nelson’s goal.

Tom Wilson tied the game at 2 when he scored later in the first period. Kuznetsov then gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead 44 seconds into the second period on a quick shot from between the circles.

The Islanders tied the game when Cizikas put a shot past Holtby 4:27 into the second period, one that appeared to hit Washington defenseman John Carlson’s stick and change direction a bit.

Kuhnhackl then gave New York the 4-3 lead on a short-side shot. Kuhnhackl didn’t have much room, but he somehow got the puck over the goalie’s shoulder for his second goal of the season, both of which have come in the past two games.

—Field Level Media

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