Green, Ovechkin carry Caps past Isles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mike Green’s two power-play goals less than
one minute apart in the third period and Alex Ovechkin’s
NHL-leading 54th tally helped the Washington Capitals beat the
New York Islanders, 5-3, on Wednesday night to near a second
consecutive division title.

Green’s 18 man-advantage goals set a franchise record for a
defenseman, breaking the mark of 16 held by Scott Stevens.
Ovechkin has 33 home goals, one more than the Capitals record he
set in 2007-08.

Washington trailed 2-0 early in the second period, then 3-2
after Richard Park scored for New York 2:12 into the third by
splitting two Capitals players and flipping a backhand past Jose

But that’s when Green took over, raising his goal total to a
career-best 30.

First, he took a cross-ice pass from Alexander Semin and sent a
one-timer past Joey MacDonald 10:55 into the third period to tie
it. Then, at 12:18, Green was barely inside the blue line when
he flicked the puck past MacDonald.

Nicklas Backstrom added a final-minute goal for Washington,
which completed its first season sweep of the Islanders since

The Capitals would clinch first place if the Carolina Hurricanes
lose to the New York Rangers on Thursday. A year ago, Washington
didn’t seal its first division title since 2000-01 until its
final game.

The Capitals are up to 47 wins, a total they haven’t eclipsed
since 1983-84, and have 101 points, a mark they haven’t topped
since getting 102 in 1999-00.

Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen each had a goal and an assist for
New York. Okposo put the Islanders in front with his team-high
18th goal about 14 minutes into the game — and 12 seconds into
a power play — off a pass from Nielsen.

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New York went up 2-0 only 37 seconds into the second period when
Okposo and Jeff Tambellini set up Nielsen’s goal. The puck
appeared to go in off Nielsen’s skate, but the goal was allowed
after a video review.

Then things got rough — and the Capitals began playing much

First, Washington’s John Erskine and New York’s Joel Rechlicz
fought. About 1 minutes later, Green leveled Andy Hilbert along
the boards, prompting a brawl involving nearly everyone on the

Green wound up sitting alongside Erskine, whistled for charging,
while New York’s Tim Jackman and Washington’s Jeff Schultz drew
fighting penalties — as Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau yelled
colorfully at the officials.

Something in that whole sequence got Washington going, and
Ovechkin made it 2-1 at 5:37 of the second period. Sergei
Fedorov went behind the net one way and suddenly sent the puck
back in the opposite direction to a wide-open Ovechkin, whose
shot bounced off MacDonald’s left pad and in.

At 9:54, Keith Aucoin’s first NHL goal since March 2008 tied it.

Notes: Islanders D Mark Streit, the team’s leading scorer, sat
out with a strained groin. He’s day to day. … Washington’s
Donald Brashear missed his ninth consecutive game with a knee
injury, but the team expects the enforcer to be available for
the playoffs. … Capitals D Milan Jurcina was a healthy
scratch. … The Capitals signed F Stefan Della Rovere to a
three-year, entry-level contract beginning next season. He was a
seventh-round pick in the 2008 draft.