Thomas Greiss stopped 19 shots as the New York Islanders defeated the host Washington Capitals 2-0 Friday night to move into first place in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division.
Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck scored 2:26 apart early in the third period for the Islanders, who won their fourth in a row and improved to 14-3-0 in their past 17 games to move a point ahead of the Capitals and Columbus. The Blue Jackets lost 4-1 Friday night to Montreal.
Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 23 of 25 shots for the Capitals, but their losing streak reached a season-high four games (0-3-1).
Bailey opened the scoring at 5:08 of the third period. He set up in the slot with his back to the net and tipped a shot from Matthew Barzal through his own legs and past Holtby, who had missed the previous two games with a left eye injury after inadvertently getting poked through the mask by the stick of Columbus’ Cam Atkinson last Saturday.
The Islanders doubled their advantage at 7:34, as Clutterbuck broke down the left wing on a two-on-one break with Casey Cizikas. Clutterbuck reached the faceoff circle and snapped a shot over Holtby’s left shoulder. Adam Pelech assisted on both New York goals.
The Capitals pulled Holtby for the final 2 1/2 minutes but were unable to solve Greiss even with an extra attacker.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship last season, was honored with a video tribute during a stoppage in play with 13:41 remaining in the first period.
Trotz resigned 11 days after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup because of financial differences and was hired by the Islanders three days later.
Trotz, who was not mentioned when the Capitals hoisted their championship banner during their home opener, received his championship ring and got a chance to address the Capitals in their locker room when they played Nov. 26 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Washington won that game 4-1.