Preview: Islanders Look to Stay Hot vs Capitals

The New York Islanders look to extend their two-game winning streak as they host the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at the Barclays Center. This will be the fourth of five meetings for these Metropolitan Division rivals. The Capitals have won two of the first three meetings.

The Islanders will start Jaroslav Halak in net. Halak has not played since Dec. 13 when he was in goal for a 4-2 loss to Washington. The holiday break and the Islanders three-goalie rotation resulted in the long gap between starts for Halak. He is 1-1-0 in two starts against Washington this season with one of those starts being a 38-save shutout.

Jaroslav Halak
Jaroslav Halak (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Washington will go with starter Braden Holtby between the pipes. Holtby has played in all three previous games against the Islanders this season and is 11-1-3 in his last 15 games against the Islanders.

The Islanders need to catch the Capitals if they hope to get back into the playoff race in the Metropolitan Division. A regulation win would be very beneficial for the home team.

Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders

Barclays Center – 7:00 PM EST

Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus 2; CSN-DC

2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 15, 2016: Washington 2, Islanders 1; Dec. 1, 2016: Islanders 3, Washington 0; Dec. 13, 2016: Washington 4, Islanders 2.

New York Islanders – 13-14-6 – 32 points

Home Record: 10-7-4

Hot Players: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Thomas Greiss, Josh Bailey

Key Injuries: Adam Pelech, Casey Cizikas

Projected Lines:


Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey

Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera

Shane Prince – Brock Nelson – Anthony Beauvillier

Nikolay Kulemin – Ryan Strome – Cal Clutterbuck


Nick Leddy – Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey – Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg

Starting Goaltender:

Jaroslav Halak


Washington Capitals – 20-8-4 – 44 points

Road Record: 8-3-4

Hot Players: John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin

Key Injuries: None

Projected Lines:


Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams

Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie

Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson


Karl Alzner – John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov – Natt Miskanen

Brooks Orpik – Nate Schmidt

Starting Goaltender:

Braden Holtby

Game Notes

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Alex Ovechkin has enjoyed a lot of success against the Islanders. He has 10 goals and 12 points in his last 12 games overall against the Isles and a career mark of 32 goals and 47 points in 44 career games. The Islanders need to find a way to slow “The Great Eight” down, especially on the power play.  This season, the Isles have held Ovechkin without a point in the first three meetings between these clubs.

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Washington has fared very well on the road against the Islanders. The Capitals are 5-0-2 in their last seven road contests against the Islanders and 8-1-3 overall in their last dozen games against them. If the Islanders hope to get back into the playoff hunt, they will need to win key head-to-head games against division opponents like Washington.

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The Islanders have to survive the first period to win this game. Washington has been a quick starting team this season, outscoring opponents 28-13 in the first 20 minutes of games. The Islanders have outscored opponents 29-27 in the first period this season and need to keep things close early.

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Anders Lee and Josh Bailey are the hottest players on the Isles right now. Lee has 11 goals and 14 points in his last 15 games to eradicate a slow start to the season. He now leads the team in goals with 12. Bailey, meanwhile, has three goals and 13 points in his last 16 contests including a six-game point streak. It is no coincidence that this duo are linemates with captain John Tavares.

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Despite all the offensive talent on their roster, the Capitals are in the middle of the pack on the power play. Washington is 14th in the NHL with the extra attacker with a 19-percent success rate, although they are ranked ninth on the road. The Islanders have added John Tavares to their penalty-killing rotation since Casey Cizikas’ injury. The Isles PK has been better lately but is still ranked only 24th in the league and must contain the Caps’ power play.

If the Islanders hope to get back into the playoff race, this is the kind of game they need to win. The Isles have to hope Halak is sharp after the long layoff and that Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera continue to play better and are productive against the Capitals.