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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Catch the Islanders on FSN NY Tonight, Islanders at Washington: pre-game starts @ 6:30 pm

By Billy Jaffe

It was an emotional and disappointing loss for the Islanders on Thursday, but a win tonight against Washington will that behind them.

Here's my look at the keys to tonight's game, which can be seen on FSN NY at 7:00. Pre-game show starts at 6:30 pm.


1. Don't underestimate the Caps
This is the third team in a row that the Islanders have faced that is out of the playoff race. The Capitals are going to come out hard and the Islanders will have to be ready for a young, energetic team. This Capitals team has been playing well recently keeping eight out of the last ten games close. Ted Nolan has done a great job of preparing the Islanders all season. It's up to the boys to respond accordingly.

2. Put them away
If there's one thing the Islanders have been lacking recently, it's that killer instinct in the third period. If the Islanders get up on Washington, they need to finish them off.

3. Stopping Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin is as explosive as they come. The Islanders have to eliminate him by taking the body. It's best to get right on him because if he gets a full head of steam going, he's tough to stop.

4. Power play options
This not so much a key, but an observation. Since the Islanders acquired Marc-Andre Bergeron and Ryan Smyth the power play has been much improved having scored in four of the past five games. Having Bergeron at the point gives the Islanders another option. The Islanders had only one power play in the game against St. Louis, but Smyth already contributed with a heads up play to set up Mike Sillinger. If the Islanders get some power play chances tonight, look for Smyth to be tipping and jamming pucks right in front of the net.

Catch Jaffe, Howie Rose and Deb Kaufman at 6:30 pm tonight on FSN NY for the Islanders pre-game show. You can watch the Islanders games on FSN NY and MSG Network all season long. Islanders telecasts are produced by Kevin Meininger and directed by Larry Roth.

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