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NHL roundup: Capitals maintain division lead

  • Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck against Philadelphia Flyers right wing Ryan Hartman (38) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-1. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek (93), of the Czech Republic, collides with Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. Capitals left wing Carl Hagelin (62) and defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) look on. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Washington Capitals center Travis Boyd (72) celebrates his goal with the bench during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen (3) battles for the puck against Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott (37) looks at the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), of Russia, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-1. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek (93), of the Czech Republic, during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-1. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


The Associated Press
Sunday, March 24, 2019

WASHINGTON — Braden Holtby stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced to compensate for the slow start by his teammates, and the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon to snap a two-game skid.

The 2016 Vezina Trophy winner was in late-season form to help the Capitals kill off three of four Philadelphia power plays and avoid what would have been their first three-game losing streak since January.

Tom Wilson, Travis Boyd and Jakub Vrana scored for the Capitals, who guaranteed themselves remaining in first place in the Metropolitan Division on Monday when they’re scheduled to visit President Donald Trump at the White House. Holtby is one of two players who have said they will not attend.

Islanders 2, Coyotes 0

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored to back Robin Lehner’s fifth shutout of the season as the New York Islanders beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-0 Sunday.

Lehner stopped 31 shots to help the Islanders win for the second time in two days and keep pace with first place Washington in the Metropolitan Division.

The Capitals, who beat Philadelphia 3-1 earlier Sunday, lead New York by one point with six games remaining for both teams, including a matchup at Washington in the season finale on April 6.

Starting for the second straight day, Lehner had nine saves in the first period, and 11 each in the second and third to improve to 22-12-5 this season. The Islanders, who beat the Flyers 4-2 on Saturday, improved to 11-1-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.

With New York leading 1-0, defenseman Johnny Boychuk was called for slashing at 6:42 of the third but the Islanders completely smothered the Coyotes on the ensuing power play. At 8:47, the Islanders had their chance with the man advantage when Arizona defenseman Jason Demers was called for hooking.

Lehner then stopped the speedy former Islander Michael Grabner — who has a league-best six short-handed goals this season — on a breakaway.

Nelson made it 2-0 with 3:14 remaining with his 24th of the season. It was initially waved off by the officials but the call was overturned after a video review.

Eberle put the Islanders ahead 4:37 into the game when he tapped a rebound of Nick Leddy’s shot past Darcy Kuemper. It was Eberle’s 15th of the season, but just his second since Feb. 9.

Kuemper finished with 24 saves as the Coyotes lost their fifth straight (0-3-2), and finished 0-3-1 on a four-game trip. Arizona hasn’t won since March 14 against Anaheim at home, where there will play four of their last six games as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Kuemper kept the Coyotes in the game with a series of excellent saves in the second period.

NOTES: The Islanders were 12-6-2 this season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and are now 11-6-2 at Nassau Coliseum with two home games remaining. ... New York’s Barry Trotz coached his 1,600th career game, moving seven games behind former Islanders coach Al Arbour who is third on the all-time list. ... The Islanders are 30-14-6 when the line of Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck all play. ... The Islanders scratched D Thomas Hickey, D Luca Sbisa, F Tom Kuhnhackl, F Michael Dal Colle, F Ross Johnston and injured F Valtteri Filppula. ... Arizona scratched D Jakob Chychrun, D Kevin Connauton, F Nick Cousins. and F Conor Garland. ... The Islanders won the previous meeting 3-1 on Dec. 18 in Arizona.

UP NEXT

Islanders: At Columbus on Tuesday night.

Coyotes: Host Chicago on Tuesday night.

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