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Game Preview: Islanders vs Capitals

The Islanders kick off a home-and-home set against the Capitals on Thursday night (7 p.m., MSG+, MSG GO)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (30-29-10) VS WASHINGTON CAPITALS (39-23-7)

7 P.M. - BARCLAYS CENTER - BUY TICKETS

TV: MSG+, MSG GO

RADIO: 88.7FM - WRHU, 660AM/101.9FM - WFAN

GAME NOTES



QUICK NOTES: 
  • The Islanders and Capitals are kicking off a back-to-back, home-and-home set
  • The Islanders are nine points back of the final playoff spot
  • The Islanders have points in four straight games (1-0-3)
LINEUP NOTES: 

The Islanders are going with the same lineup from Sunday's win in Calgary. That means Chris Gibson will make his third straight start and that Ross Johnston remains in the lineup. 

Video: Practice Update: Christopher Gibson

STANDINGS IMPLICATIONS: 

The Islanders are nine points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Florida Panthers (75 points), Carolina Hurricanes (71 points) and New York Rangers (71 points) stand between them and the postseason, though the Isles can leapfrog the Hurricanes and Rangers with a win on Thursday. 

After snapping an eight-game winless streak with a 5-2 victory in Calgary, Doug Weight acknowledged the Islanders need to go on a decent run to be in the playoff picture by the end of the season. The best way to accomplish that is to go step by step, starting on Thursday. 

"We have to go beat a good team on Thursday and go try to beat them again on Friday and go from there," the coach said. "That's our mindset."

Video: Halak makes 31 saves in Isles' 3-1 win vs. Caps

SEASON SERIES: 

The Isles are 1-1-0 against the Capitals this season. Each team has won on their home ice, with the Isles taking a 3-1 decision in Brooklyn on Dec. 11, while the Capitals won 4-3 at Verizon Center on November 2. 

The Islanders are 5-3-0 in their last eight games against the Capitals. 

THE CAPITALS: 

Last Game: W 3-2 OT vs Winnipeg

Leading Scorers: 
Goals: 
Alex Ovechkin - 42
Assists: Evgeny Kuznetsov - 45
Points: Alex Ovechkin - 74

The Capitals are at the top of the Metropolitan Division, fighting with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers for the division crown. 

Washington has won two straight entering Thursday's game, most recently beating Winnipeg 3-2 in overtime on Monday. 

Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals in goals (42) and points (74) while Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the Capitals in assists. Kuznetsov is the Caps second leading scorer (21-45-66) and has already eclipsing his goals, assists and points totals from last season. 

OVECHKIN HITS 600 GOALS: 

Alex Ovechkin hit the 600-goal mark on Monday night, becoming the 20th player in NHL history - and the fourth fastest - to reach the milestone. 

Ovechkin is by far the most prolific goal scorer of his generation, scoring at least 195 more goals than anyone else in the league since the start of the 2005-06 season. Islanders Head Coach Doug Weight gave his two take on Ovechkin's milestone. 

"He just does it every year and the stat that I was getting at was I think he's 194 goals more than anyone else since the start of the same year as him," Weight said. "That to me is pretty incredible, that's consistency, that's elite level and he's been great for our game."

"I'm just going to ask him if he can take a couple days off next week cause he's got 600," Weight added. "It's pretty incredible what he's done."

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