Washington Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz, back, celebrates his goal with left wing Carl Hagelin that came with 26.4 seconds left in the third period Tuesday night and gave a Caps a 3-2 win over the Islanders. Nick Wass/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Justin Schultz scored the go-ahead goal with 26.4 seconds left, Vitek Vanecek made 32 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Tuesday night despite another injury to a key player.

Schultz’s goal allowed the Capitals to narrowly avoid a fifth consecutive overtime game, which has never happened in franchise history.

Washington lost center Lars Eller midway through the third period when he was hit into the glass from behind by Leo Komarov, who was assessed a major penalty for boarding. Capitals winger Tom Wilson was already out of the lineup for a second consecutive game with a lower-body injury, and Washington played its third of at least four games without captain Alex Ovechkin, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov because of COVID-19 protocols.

Capitals defenseman John Carlson had a power-play goal playing in Ovechkin’s spot, and Daniel Sprong scored his first with Washington. Schultz got the primary assist on Carlson’s goal, and Vanecek was solid again in a fourth consecutive start in Samsonov’s absence.

Noah Dobson and Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders, who got 33 saves from leading NHL goalie Semyon Varlamov in his first loss of the season after starting 3-0.

It was New York’s second consecutive defeat after being shut out Sunday by New Jersey.

PANTHERS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3: Patric Hornqvist scored the tying goal with 3 seconds left in regulation and had the winner in a shootout for visiting Florida.

Hornqvist beat Joonas Korpisalo in the fifth round of the shootout to end it after Columbus’ Mikhail Grigorenko’s try went into the pads of Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

SABRES 3, RANGERS 2: Buffalo captain Jack Eichel’s first goal of the season gave him some relief and provided a lift for the Sabres.

Eichel, Dylan Cozens and Tobias Rieder scored for Buffalo, which rallied for a win over visiting New York.

Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller scored first-period goals for the Rangers.

Eichel’s power-play goal snapped a 2-all tie and gave Buffalo the lead at 7:31 of the second period. He buried a shot from the slot off a pass from below the goal line by Victor Olofsson. Eichel raised both his arms and his head to the sky before pounding the glass in celebration. The goal was his first since March 9, 2020, Buffalo’s final game of the 2019-2020 season.
• Rangers 21-year-old forward Filip Chytil will miss the next 4 to 6 weeks with an upper-body injury. Chytil, in his fourth season with New York, sustained the injury in a collision with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evan Rodrigues. Chytil has two goals this season, tying him for the Rangers’ lead with four others.

FLYERS 5, DEVILS 3: Nolan Patrick, Joel Farabee and Ivan Provorov scored third-period goals, as Philadelphia beat New Jersey for its first road win.

James van Riemsdyk scored two power-play goals and Brian Elliott made 23 saves as the Flyers came back to win after blowing an early two-goal lead. Provorov, who had an empty-net goal, and Claude Giroux each had two assists as the Flyers bounced back from two losses (0-1-1) in Boston.

KINGS 2, WILD 1: Carl Grundstrom and Kurtis MacDermid scored, and Calvin Peterson made 32 saves as visiting Los Angeles held on to beat Minnesota.

JETS 6, OILERS 4: Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and three assists and host Winnipeg rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Edmonton.

PREDATORS 3, BLACKHAWKS 2: Roman Josi scored at 2:57 of overtime to give Nashville a win at home over Chicago.

NOTES

MAPLE LEAFS: Coach Sheldon Keefe says backup goaltender Jack Campbell will be out “weeks” with a leg injury.

Campbell was hurt late in Toronto’s 3-2 win at Calgary on Sunday when Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk landed on him in a goalmouth scrum.

Campbell has a 2-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and .923 save percentage this season.

Michael Hutchinson has been penciled in to back up starter Frederik Andersen for Toronto, which was set to finish a two-game series with Calgary on Tuesday night.

The Maple Leafs lost goaltender Aaron Dell to the waiver wire last week.

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