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Capitals still hopeful after SO win over Islanders

Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the lone goal of the shootout as Washington captured a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward tallied in regulation for the Capitals, who finally put an end to a five-game slide which kept them on the outside of the playoff picture.

Washington, which has four games remaining, moved two points back of idle Columbus for the last wild-card spot in the East. However, the Devils vaulted over the Caps after a 3-1 win at Carolina.

Braden Holtby came up with 35 saves for the win.

"I don't think there's any relief. We have a hefty job to do still," Holtby said. "So I think that's one step that we needed to do, and we have to keep building, have to keep finding a way to win games like we did tonight."

Cal Clutterbuck, John Persson and Frans Nielsen picked up a goal each for the Islanders, whose three-game win streak came to a halt. Evgeni Nabokov made 26 stops in defeat.

Clutterbuck opened the scoring as the clock ticked down towards seven minutes left in the first period, then was denied on his next shift on a short-handed breakaway by Holtby.

Kuznetsov evened things at 2:36 of the second, working a cross-crease give- and-go with Marcus Johansson and finishing from the goal line to the right of Nabokov.

Persson's backhander squeezed through Holtby's left arm for his first NHL goal and a 2-1 Isles lead just 1;40 later and Nielsen converted from the right side on a power play for a two-goal edge with 9:55 played.

"I wasn't sure what was going on," said Persson, who played his fifth NHL game. "I just fired it and then I went around the net. Obviously, I didn't want to celebrate too early, but it was nice to see it go in."

The Caps got back to 3-2 at 12:45. Alex Ovechkin's bid for No. 50 was denied by the right post after Nabokov needlessly flopped, but Backstrom pounced on the rebound in the right circle and hit the unguarded net.

Ward pulled the visitors even from the outer edge of the left circle just over two minutes later, and both clubs couldn't solve the deadlock for the remaining time in regulation.

Game Notes

Washington improved to 2-3 in shootouts over its last eight games and 10-10 overall in the game's terminal segment this season ... Capitals defenseman Mike Green sat out the final 45 minutes due to an undisclosed injury ... Persson, 21, totaled 12 goals and 16 points with a minus-15 rating over 43 contests for Bridgeport of the AHL this year ... Following the contest, the Islanders recalled Johan Sundstrom and Scott Mayfield from Bridgeport of the AHL.

04/05 22:43:04 ET