Capitals dominate Islanders 6-3 to stay in 1st in East

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Washington Capitals' Daniel Sprong celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Capitals won 6-3. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Daniel Sprong scored twice in injured Alex Ovechkin’s place on Washington’s top line, Ilya Samsonov made 21 saves and the Capitals beat the New York Islanders 6-3 Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists, and Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway and T.J. Oshie also scored as the Capitals won for the second time in three nights at Nassau Coliseum.

Washington, which also won 1-0 in a shootout on Thursday, remained in first place in the tight East Division, one point ahead of second-place Pittsburgh. The Islanders are in third, two points behind the Penguins, and three ahead of Boston.

“We generated some chances early in the game and that gave us momentum,'' Kuznetsov said. ”If we're missing a player like Alex, we have to step up."

The Capitals also improved to 17-7-2 on the road, one win ahead of Winnipeg for the most road wins this season. The Capitals have won five of seven meetings with the Islanders, and the teams meet for the final time during the regular season Tuesday in Washington.

“It was a tough game for us,″ Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. ”We dug ourselves a little bit of hole, found our way out of it, then we put ourselves right back in a hole.”

Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Islanders. Ilya Sorokin finished with 24 saves.

Ovechkin missed the contest with a lower-body injury. It was the first game Ovechkin missed due to injury during the abbreviated 56-game season. The 35-year-old Ovechkin — sixth on the all-time goals list at 730 — also missed four games earlier while on the league’s COVID-19 list. The Capitals were 3-0-1 in those four game, including two wins over the Islanders.