The Capitals got a much-needed 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday to snap a four-game losing skid, but lost a key contributor in the process as T.J. Oshie went out with an upper-body injury.
Vitek Vanecek and Alex Ovechkin tried to boost the mood, though, as they got a shutout from their netminder and another late tally from their captain as the Capitals moved to 21-8-9 on the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the win:
Wilson's first and only
Tom Wilson scored early into the game on a nice shot from between the circles where he had all day to fire. And, as it turned out, that was all the scoring the Capitals needed.
In the win over the Islanders, the goal from Wilson helped out a unit that didn't have Conor Sheary (COVID protocol) and that lost Oshie (upper body) early in the game.
Wilson's goal was his 10th of the season, his first in eight games and just his second in 13 games.
Capitals lose Oshie
Yet another injury struck the Capitals on Saturday when they learned they’d lost Oshie to an upper-body injury early in the first period. He played just one minute and 46 seconds before leaving.
It is unclear the extent of his injury as of just after the completion of the game.
The Capitals have played without Oshie in numerous games this season, as the game against the Islanders was just his 18th of the season.
Oshie’s health moving forward will be crucial for the Capitals, who are already down Anthony Mantha (shoulder) on the wing, too. With a key role on special teams, Oshie carries a presence that’s hard to replicate both on and off the ice.
Vanecek earns shutout
For all the questions surrounding the Capitals' goaltending, Vanecek did all he could to stake his claim to more starts.
After a stint in COVID protocol, he replaced Zach Fucale on Jan. 10 against the Boston Bruins — and didn't fare well, allowing three goals on 15 shots.
But in his first start since 2021, he stopped every one of the Islanders' 23 shots in his first shutout of the season.
More COVID issues
The Capitals had some last-second COVID issues to work through, as they were waiting on results from Sheary and John Carlson just before puck drop.
They got Carlson in the lineup, but Sheary was unavailable due to the NHL’s COVID protocol. Michal Kempny was called up from the taxi squad just in case, but didn't play.
Ovechkin suits up
After a bit of uncertainty regarding Alex Ovechkin's health with an upper-body injury, he played against the Islanders on Saturday and scored the empty-net goal to put the game away. It was his 25th of the season, which already beats his mark from last year.
Maybe, as Ovechkin joked earlier in the week, the injury was indeed under his body.
Ovechkin played a total of 19:08 and had four shots on goal in his 38th game of the season. He and Carlson are the only two Capitals players to have played in every game this season.