Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders Thursday in New York. (Frank Franklin II — The Associated Press)

NEW YORK — Alex Ovechkin scored his 497th goal, Braden Holtby stopped 34 shots to keep up his stellar play and the NHL-leading Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 4-1 Thursday night.

Jason Chimera, Nate Schmidt and Nicklas Backstrom also scored to help Washington reach 63 points and become the first team with 30 wins. Holtby improved to 26-4-2, including 18-0-2 in his last 21 games.

It was the teams' first meeting since the Capitals won a seven-game series with the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Brock Nelson scored for New York and Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves in his first action in nearly three weeks. The Islanders had won four of six and fell to 7-2-2 against Metropolitan Division foes.

Ovechkin gave Washington a 2-0 lead with his 22nd goal of the season with 4:15 left in the first period. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech coughed up the puck in the offensive zone and the Capitals' Karl Alzner took the puck and skated up the right side. He dropped it to Ovechkin, and the 30-year-old Russian wristed a shot past Halak from the right faceoff circle.

Nelson got the Islanders on the scoreboard 1:59 into the second. He took a pass from Ryan Strome in the high slot and fired a wrist shot past Holtby for his 14th of the season.

Ovechkin had a chance for No. 498 about 9 minutes into the second, but the puck clanged off the crossbar.


Washington restored its two-goal lead later in the period. Backstrom dropped a backhand pass to Schmidt, and he fired a one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle for his second of the season with 4:06 to go.

Backstrom capped the scoring with an empty-netter with 2:42 remaining in the game.


LOS ANGELES >> Vincent Lecavalier has officially joined the Los Angeles Kings for the final months of his remarkable NHL career.

Now all he needs is the Hollywood ending.

Lecavalier met his new teammates after a cross-country flight to join the Kings, who acquired the veteran center along with defenseman Luke Schenn in a trade with Philadelphia.

"I still have confidence in my game and what I can bring," said Lecavalier, who has 411 career NHL goals. "The most important thing is winning in this organization. It's not a guy or two guys. It's everybody. That's what's exciting about it."