The Islanders beat the Capitals 2-1 in their first shootout win of the season

March 29, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Islanders right wing Hudson Fasching (20) handles the puck while Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) defends during the second period at Capital One Arena. / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) – Pick up trading deadline Pierre Engvall scored his second goal in two games, Ilya Sorokin made 28 saves and the New York islanders took another step toward a return to the playoffs by defeating the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday night.

With their second straight win — and the first of six shootouts this season — the Islanders cemented their spot on the Eastern Conference’s first wildcard. They are now five points clear of Pittsburgh and six points ahead of Florida with five regular-season games left.

Sorokin was again crucial for New York, stopping two of three shooters on penalties after previously making some key saves. The all-star goaltender improved to 8-1-1 in his last 10 games, a stretch in which he has stopped 263 of 286 shots.

Engvall scored his sixth goal since being acquired in a trade from Toronto Bo Horvat And Kyle Palmieri hit in the tiebreak. The Islanders have gone 11-4-2 since top center and second-best scorer Matthew Barsal fell to the ground with a lower body injury.

According to Barzal, there is nothing new to report Lane Lambert, who was back in his old home arena for the first time as NHL head coach. Lambert was on assistant Barry defiancewhen the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 and succeeded him as coach of the Islanders, he didn’t see much significance in his return.

“We had some good memories, Barry and I, here and the first time here four years ago was maybe a little bit of this or that,” Lambert said earlier in the day. “But we’ve been here so many times that it’s no different.”

The Islanders return on April 10, by which time they could be in position to secure a playoff berth – their fourth in five years. New York reached the East Finals in 2020 and 2021 before a combination of a lengthy opening road trip and a string of injuries and virus absences derailed last season.

Similar trials and tribulations have afflicted Washington this season, likely ending the organization’s postseason streak at eight. Play without Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson And John Carlson For much of the time, the capitals were sellers after a rough patch at the close, losing five out of six to drop out of the race.

Conor Sheary scored Washington’s only goal, and Darcy Kumper made 25 saves as he fell to 21-22-6 in his first season with his new team after pushing Colorado back to the Cup last year.


Islanders: Catch the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Capitals: In Tampa Bay on Thursday evening.

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