- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

Alex Ovechkin scored the winning goal in his return after having to sit out for skipping the All-Star Game, and the Washington Capitals avoided a third consecutive loss by beating the New York Islanders, 3-2, on Thursday night.

Ovechkin scored off a pass from Nicklas Backstrom with 2:40 left to help Washington end a rare two-game skid. The Capitals haven’t lost three games in a row all season.

T.J. Oshie and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals. Braden Holtby stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced for the victory in his return to the net.

The Islanders‘ Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves. Mikhail Grabovski and Josh Bailey had New York’s goals in a rematch of a first-round playoff series from last spring.

Washington allowed the first goal for the sixth consecutive game. Grabovski, who spent the 2013-14 season with the Capitals, collected a rebound in front and fired it past Holtby just 1:55 in.

At the 7:21 mark, the Capitals took a blown scoring chance by the Islanders and turned it into a goal. Backstrom won the race to the puck and used Ovechkin as a decoy before finding a trailing Oshie for his 16th goal of the season.

The physicality ramped up with Tom Wilson at the center of the activity. Wilson and the Islanders built up some bad blood during their playoff series.

While New York’s Matt Martin and Washington’s Michael Latta exchanged some words and shoves throughout the night, a heads-up play by Jason Chimera broke the tie late in the second period. From behind the net, Chimera banked the puck off Halak, and though it didn’t go in, Burakovsky was there when it was lying in the crease.

The goal was Burakovsky’s seventh in his past 14 games. He also has six assists in that time.

A defensive miscue by the Capitals led to Bailey’s goal 5:38 into the third period. Brock Nelson kept the puck in at the blue line, and Marek Zidlicky made a perfect pass to Bailey in front.

The Islanders only led until the final minutes when Ovechkin scored his 29th goal of the season.

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