Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders: Game Preview


The Washington Capitals look to start a new winning streak as they face off against the Islanders for the first time since the 2015 playoffs.

After losing their first game of the new year and taking their first consecutive set of losses for the season, the Washington Capitals (29-7-3) put on a dominating performance against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night to reassert their dominance over the Eastern Conference. The 3-2 victory was their first win of 2016 and showcased a team that can win despite injuries to key players Jay Beagle, Brooks Orpik, and John Carlson. The team is in the midst of a five game road trip, which will end this Saturday when the Rangers host the Capitals downtown at Madison Square Garden. The Capitals are currently 1-1-1 on the trip and look to propel themselves even further above the East, and the league, with some more points before heading back to D.C.

The Capitals now take their talents to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders. The Caps displaced their divisional rivals from their beloved Nassau Coliseum last spring after defeating the Islanders in Game 7 in a 2-1 victory at the Verizon Center courtesy of some Evgeny Kuznetsov late-game heroics. The last time the Caps played the Islanders at their old home they lost in game six, so hopefully their new barn brings more luck to the boys in red.

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Tonight’s game is the first of four between the Capitals and the Islanders for the season, three of which will come within the Capital’s next 19 games.

“I think it will be two very good hockey teams,” said coach Barry Trotz of his Washington Capitals matchup against the Isles tonight. “We met in the playoffs, and it will have a playoff feel, I think.”

After being able to contain the best power play in the league multiple times in their game in Boston, the Capitals look to carry their defense momentum and confidence into a game against a team is thirsty to enact revenge for crushing their dreams of raising one last banner in the rafters of Nassau. Having just defeated the Western Conference Leaders, the Dallas Stars, and winning three games of their last four, the Islanders carry a similar momentum. They have the added incentive of closing the gap between themselves and the Capitals, who they trail by 12 points (Capitals- 61, Islanders- 49). The Islanders only lead the Rangers by a single point for second place in the Metropolitan, so gaining ground is imperative in a competitive Eastern Conference.

Ex-Capital Jaroslav Halak will be between the pipes for New York with a current record of 7-3-0 with a 2.22 GAA in 11 games in Brooklyn. This is Halak’s first game back from injured reserve after missing the last six games. Halak has a knack for playing far, far better against the Capitals than with them, so hopefully the Washington offense can find ways to the back of the net.

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  • Alexander Ovechkin continues towards his 500th goal on his career with 496 as his current count. Ovechkin has been held without a point for two games now after racking up four goals in the previous three games. I would look for Alex to light the lamp and creep closer to solidifying his legendary status with half a thousand goals for his illustrious career. Alex will have the honor of being the Captain of the Metropolitan Division during the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, accompanied by two more Capitals Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom. The Capitals community all breathed a sigh of relief as Nicky finally makes his rightful place on the All-Star roster as one of the most quietly dominant centers in the game. John Tavares will be the lone Islander who will be coming to the All-Star game. Tavares has 20 points in 21 games for his career in regular season games against the Capitals.

    Carlson, Beagle, and Orpik all are still injured for the Capitals. The Islanders are missing defenseman Johnny Boychuk due to an upper body injury.

    WHAT: Washington Capitals at New York Islanders

    WHEN: Thursday, January 7th, 7:00 P.M EST

    WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

    TV: CSN-MA

    RADIO: Caps Radio 24/7, Caps Mobile App, Caps Radio Network

    LIVE STREAM: NHL Gamecenter

    More capitals: Caps: Takeaways From 2016 WJC

    Strap in for a solid game against a team that has bad blood with Washington and is asserting themselves as the Capital’s biggest competitor in a division with foes on a downward trend. Let’s Go Caps!