Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves, Tom Wilson scored early in the first period and Alex Ovechkin scored his 755th career goal in the waning seconds as the visiting Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 2-0 on Saturday afternoon in Elmont, N.Y.
Washington rebounded from its 7-3 loss to Boston on Monday and improved to 5-4-3 since Dec. 6 thanks to Vanecek, who was sharp in his first start since Dec. 19 against the Los Angeles Kings.
Vanecek was not tested often as the Capitals allowed one of their lowest shot totals all season and constantly disrupted any attempts at sustained offense by the Islanders, who also had 11 shots blocked.
Vanecek made seven of his saves on Oliver Wahlstrom, including a diving stop during a scramble with 2:29 remaining and a sharp-angle glove save with 1:40 left after New York pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the extra attacker.
Wilson scored 4:35 into the game and that was the only goal Vanecek needed for his third career shutout.
Wilson got his 10th goal when he parked himself in the middle of the slot between the faceoff circles. As three Islanders defended Aliaksei Protas, Wilson got a backhanded pass from Protas and ripped a wrist shot under Varlamov's blocker.
Ovechkin returned after missing Monday's loss in Boston due to an upper-body injury and scored his 45th career empty-net goal with 11 seconds left. He finished off a breakaway four seconds after Nicklas Backstrom dove to block a shot by New York defenseman Noah Dobson.
The Capitals played their first game at the new UBS Arena and it marked the 41st different building Ovechkin scored in.
The Islanders saw a modest five-game points streak halted, were blanked for the fourth time and were unable to reach NHL .500 (11-13-6). New York also saw six-game home points streak stopped (5-0-1) as it went 0-for-3 on the power play and did not muster a shot on a man advantage midway through the third period.
Varlamov made 34 saves in his first start since Dec. 30.
--Field Level Media