The New York Islanders look to regroup after Saturday’s disappointing 6-2 loss to the Blue Jackets when they host the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at Barclays Center. The loss to Columbus ended a six-game streak in which the Isles had earned at least a point (5-0-1).
This is the third meeting between these division rivals this season. The Capitals defeated the Islanders 2-1 on October 15, but the Islanders got revenge when Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves in a 3-0 shutout win on December 1. Both previous meetings took place in Washington. This is the Capitals first visit to Brooklyn this season.
Jaroslav Halak is expected to start in goal for the Islanders while Braden Holtby is scheduled to be in the crease for Washington. Halak played for the Caps late in the 2013-14 season and the Islanders acquired his rights in a trade with Washington in the summer of 2014.
The Capitals enter the game playing well, having gone 4-0-1 in their last five games. Holtby made 20 saves in shutting out the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Sunday.
Washington Capitals at New York Islanders
Barclays Center — 7:00 PM EST
2016-17 Season Series: 1-1-0
Washington Capitals – 17-7-3 — 37 points
Road Record: 6-3-3
Hot Players: Evgeni Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky – Lars Eller – Jakub Vrana
Daniel Winnik – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik – Nate Schmidt
New York Islanders – 11-11-5 – 27 points
Home Record: 9-4-4
Hot Players: John Tavares, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey
Key Injuries: Adam Pelech
Brock Nelson – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd – Anthony Beauvillier – Shane Prince
Anders Lee – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Nikolay Kulemin – Ryan Strome – Jason Chimera
Nick Leddy – Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey – Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
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The Capitals have a tendency to get off to fast starts. Washington is outscoring opponents 25-10 in the first period. If the Islanders can survive the first period with a lead or even, they should have a good chance to compete for the rest of the game.
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The Islanders expect to have defenseman Johnny Boychuk available tonight. Boychuk injured his hand when it was hit by a shot during the Islanders third-period collapse against Columbus Sunday. X-rays on his hand were negative and Boychuk practiced yesterday for the Isles.
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The Capitals have done very well against the Islanders in recent games. Washington is 7-1-3 overall in their last 11 games and 4-0-2 in their last six road games against the Islanders at Barclays and Nassau Coliseum.
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Isles forward Andrew Ladd has excelled against the Capitals. In 44 career games against Washington, Ladd has scored 20 goals and has 34 points. Ladd has played better of late and the Islanders would love to see him step up tonight against the Caps.
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Both teams are getting a lot of offensive production from their defensemen. Washington’s defensemen have at least a point in 22 of the team’s 27 games totaling four goals and 49 points. The Capitals are 15-4-3 in games when their defensemen register at least a point.
The Islanders are second in the NHL with 19 goals from their defensemen. Isles defensemen have 57 points this season. Whichever team gets more production from their blueline will have a big advantage.
This is a tough division matchup and the kind of game the Islanders need to win if they hope to actually pick up ground in the playoff race in the Metropolitan Division. The Isles need to keep winning and keep their confidence up, but Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals are hardly easy opponents.
Long time hockey writer and author of the new book, “Ice Wars: The Complete History of New York’s Greatest Modern Sports Rivalry.” It tells the story behind every game between the Rangers and Islanders dating back to 1972 and features profiles of more than 80 players from both teams and quotes from more than 50 exclusive interviews from players, coaches and broadcasters from both teams.