Pageau, Gauthier lead Islanders past Capitals
“You saw the response to a bad game,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. That was evident tonight and that was more indicative of who we’ve been of late. … Guys were working, guys were smart, we didn’t have as many turnovers. We played the game much better tonight and buried our chances.”
Darcy Kuemper finished with 24 saves for Washington in relief of Charlie Lindgren who left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period. Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored for Washington, which has lost three in a row.
Pageau blasted a one-timer to record his third goal of the season and open the scoring at 4:51. Gauthier intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and led the rush into Capitals territory prior to sliding the puck to defenseman Alexander Romanov who set up the one-timer.
Pageau scored his second and capped off the scoring at 14:26 of the third period when he roofed a wrist shot past the glove of Kuemper to extend the Islanders lead to 5-0.
Gauthier scored twice within 17 seconds in the middle of the third period to give the Islanders a 4-0 lead.
"You got a 2-0 game going into the third period, that next goal is huge," Islanders forward Matt Martin said. “It was a big period especially by Pageau and Gauthier and their line. ... You wouldn't want to make a mistake to allow the other team back into the game, you want to make them earn it. I thought we did a good job of locking them down tonight.”
Gauthier buried a long-range rebound in the slot and then converted a nifty forehand-backhand combination to help the Islanders regain their composure after getting trounced 7-0 earlier this week against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pageau assisted on both of Gauthier’s goals.
“I thought we had a good character response all night long,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said.
Dobson gave the Islanders a two-goal lead with a slap shot at 6:01 of the second period. Mathew Barzal entered the Capitals zone with speed and assisted Dobson with a drop pass. Bo Horvat registered a helper on the play.
Aube-Kubel spoiled Sorokin's shutout bid in the final minute of the third period.
“We just got to do more, everybody's got to do more,” Capitals coach Spencer Carberry said.
Martin returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 15, missing the previous 19 games which included two stints on IR. Casey Cizikas was sidelined due to illness and goaltender Semyon Varlamov did not dress and is considered day-to-day.
Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return.
Prior to the game, the Islanders unveiled two public pond hockey rinks on the ground of Belmont Park adjacent to UBS arena, which will host 4-on-4 hockey tournaments, “Learn to Skate,” “Learn to Play” and “Try Hockey for Free” programs on synthetic ice. In addition, the area included small fire pits, heated igloos, carnival games and food trucks.
Capitals: Host Nashville Predators Saturday.
Islanders: Visit Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday.
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