Preview: Islanders Clash with Capitals in Brooklyn

The New York Islanders look to continue their strong play as they host the Washington Capitals in the first game for both teams since the All-Star break.

Both teams entered the break playing very good hockey. The Capitals were on a 13-1-2 roll before the break and went on a 14-game point streak (12-0-2) from Dec 21 until Jan 23. The Islanders now have points in their last six games (5-0-1) including a 4-0-1 mark under interim coach Doug Weight.

The duo of John Tavares and Thomas Greiss have been the cornerstones of the Islanders recent resurgence. Tavares has eight goals and 13 points in his last eight games while Greiss has gone 11-3-3 in his last 17 starts. Greiss’ play has gone up a notch since Jaroslav Halak was put on waivers and Greiss was the clear number one netminder.

Washington’s success has been based on an offensive explosion throughout the lineup led by Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The strong goaltending of Braden Holtby has also been a big reason for the team’s outstanding January.

Washington Capitals at New York Islanders

Barclays Center – 7:00 PM EST

Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus and CSN-DC-Plus

2016-17 Season Series: Oct 15: Capitals 2, Islanders 1; Dec 1: Islanders 3, Capitals 0; Dec 13: Capitals 4, Islanders 2; Dec 27: Islanders 4, Capitals 3

New York Islanders – 21-17-9 – 51 points

Home Record: 15-8-5

Hot Players: John Tavares, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss

Key Injuries: Travis Hamonic

Projected Lines:


Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey

Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome

Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera

Nikolay Kulemin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck


Nick Leddy – Adam Pelech

Scott Mayfield – Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg

Starting Goaltender:

Thomas Greiss


Washington Capitals – 33-10-6 – 72 points

Road Record: 14-5-5

Hot Players: Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin

Key Injuries: None

Projected Lines:


Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams

Brett Connolly – Lars Eller – Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson


Karl Alzner – John Carlson

Dmitri Orlov – Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik – Nate Schmidt

Starting Goaltender:

Braden Holtby

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Scoring the first goal of game makes a big difference for both of these teams. The Capitals are 27-3-4 this season when they score the first goal and just 6-7-2 when they fall behind 1-0 in games. The Islanders are 16-5-6 when they get the first goal of the game and just 5-12-3 when opponents tally first.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Andrew Ladd has had very good career numbers against the Capitals. The veteran forward has scored 16 goals and 36 points, more than any active Islanders player. Ladd has two goals and three points against Washington this season in an Islanders uniform.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Capitals have a big edge on special teams, especially on the penalty kill. The Isles power play is ranked only 26th in the league with a 14.6 percent success rate. The Capitals penalty kill is 4th in the league with an 85.1 percent rate. The Islanders need to score on the power play if they hope to beat Holtby enough to win this game.

Washington Capitals NICKLAS BACKSTROM - Photo by Andy Martin Jr
Washington Capitals NICKLAS BACKSTROM – Photo by Andy Martin Jr

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Capitals offense has come alive during the team’s recent hot streak. The Caps have scored four goals or more in 12 of the club’s last 15 games. In total, the Capitals have scored 69 goals since December 31.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Alex Ovechkin has been outstanding throughout his career against the Islanders. The Capitals captain has scored 33 goals and 49 points in 45 career games against the Islanders. That includes eight multi-goal games.

This has the makings of a good game between two of the hottest teams in the league. The Islanders have found new momentum since Doug Weight took over as interim coach. The Capitals have enjoyed one of the great months of January in franchise history. Both teams look to keep the momentum going in a game the Islanders must win to keep pace in the tight playoff race in the Eastern Conferfence.