NEW YORK (AP) Andrew Ladd is hoping a couple of goals Tuesday night can get him and the New York Islanders rolling headed into the second half of the season.
“When pucks start going in, your confidence is a lot higher,” Ladd said after he and Anders Lee scored 43 seconds apart early in the third period to lift the New York Islanders over the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Ladd had two goals and Cal Clutterbuck added another for New York, which improved to 14-14-6 overall and 11-7-4 at home. Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 of 34 shots for the Islanders.
“You’re probably looking to shoot more than you are when things aren’t going your way,” said Ladd, who has seven goals in his first season with New York. “I’ve been around long enough to know that when things start to go your way, you’ve got to ride that as long as you can.”
While the Islanders are talking about building from the ground up, the Capitals left New York as an irritated group.
Despite getting goals from Justin Williams, Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky, Washington fell to 20-9-4 with its third loss in four games. Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots.
New York never trailed in the third meeting this month between the longtime rivals.
Still it took a 1-2 combination from Ladd and Lee to put New York in position to win its third straight game.
Ladd broke a 2-2 tie 4:41 into the third by shoveling Alan Quine‘s pass into the net. Signed to a seven-year, $38.5 million free agent contract on July 1, Ladd scored two goals in a game for the first time as an Islander.
“Once you’re a scorer, you’re a scorer,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “They’re (going to) come. Even last year, it came in bunches for him after Christmas. He works hard. If you continue to work hard, good things are (going to) happen.”
Lee followed with a breakaway score at 5:24 for a two-goal lead. Lee snapped a wrist shot that beat Holtby cleanly.
“A move that’s beaten me a few times this year,” Holtby said. “I can deal with different goals here and there, but when it’s a pattern like that and I haven’t fixed it, that’s frustrating.”
Burakovsky cut the deficit to 4-3 with his fourth goal with 6:55 left. After Burakovsky’s score, New York killed two minor penalties to close up shop. The Islanders killed all four Washington power plays for the game.
Ovechkin opened the third period by scoring on a backhander at 1:17 to tie it at 2.
Ladd’s sixth goal gave the Islanders their second lead of the game, 2-1, at the 14:03 mark of the second. Stationed at the far post, Ladd was able to tap in Thomas Hickey‘s shot from the left side.
New York took a 1-0 lead 8:02 into the game on Clutterbuck’s third of the season, his first since Nov. 7, and the 99th of his NHL career.
“You think it’s going hard, it goes soft and handcuffs you,” Holtby said. “I didn’t really know where it was.”
Williams tied it 5:22 later by poking a rebound of Ovechkin’s shot past Halak. After the goal, Halak appeared to complain that he had been interfered with by Williams.
Williams was called for goaltender interference midway through the second period after colliding with Halak behind the New York net.
NOTES: Holtby entered with a career record of 12-2-3 with a 2.18 goals against average and .928 save percentage in 17 games against the Islanders. … New York scratched G Thomas Griess and RW Stephen Gionta. … Islanders C Casey Cizikas missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury. … Washington scratched D Taylor Chorney, LW Zachary Sanford and LW Daniel Winnik. … The Islanders and Capitals will end their regular season series Jan. 31 in New York.
Capitals: Host New Jersey on Thursday night in the first half of a home-and-home.
Islanders: Begin a four-game trip Thursday night at Minnesota.