UNIONDALE, L.I. — 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 Kutznetsov 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.
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.
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. Ovechkin has 24 goals in 43 games this season.
Samsonov improved to 13-3-1 this season and handed the Islanders just their third regulation loss in 25 home games (19-3-3).
Trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes, the Islanders tied at 7:37 of the second as Pelech surprised Samsonov with a long slap shot on a coast-to-coast effort. It was his third goal of the season and first short-handed tally of his career.
Dowd put the Capitals back ahead for good with 7:39 left in the period when his high shot from the left faceoff circle eluded Sorokin. Sprong extended the lead to 4-2 about 2 1/2 minutes later. Defenseman Brendan Dillon assisted on both goals.
Pageau brought the Islanders within one with a power-play goal with 2:48 remaining in the second.
However, the Capitals maintained pressure in the third and added to their lead. Kutznetsov added his ninth of the season at 7:35 when his high shot eluded Sorokin, who had a difficult night while falling to 12-5-1 on the season.
Sprong added his second of the contest and ninth of the season with 5:17 remaining to complete the scoring.
Hathaway notched his fifth of the season 2:33 into the game when his angled shot from the left corner eluded Sorokin. Oshie made it 2-0 at 10:55 with his 17th goal.
Beauvillier got the Islanders on the scoreboard with a power-play goal with 5 1/2 minutes left in te opening period as he knocked a loose puck past Samsonov for this 10th.
Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara played his 1,600th career game, 13th-most in NHL history. The 44-year-old Chara, a third-round selection by the Islanders in 1996, is in his first season with Washington after 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins. The 6-foot-9 blueliner won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 and helped the Bruins reach the finals in 2013 and 2019. Chara also won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2009 and is the fifth defenseman to reach the games milestone.
The Islanders have three players with active consecutive game streaks of at least 240 games: Brock Nelson at 293, Mathew Barzal with 280, Ryan Pulock at 242. All three players have appeared in every game since Barry Trotz became the Isles’ coach to start the 2018-19 season.