After playing seven straight games in New York, the Islanders are in Washington, D.C. tonight for a game against the Capitals. The Islanders are looking to get on track before the Olympic break and put an end to their five-game winless streak (0-4-1). To do so, they’ll have to pick up their first win of the season over their Metropolitan Division rivals.
The Capitals are coming off of a 6-5 OT win over the Detroit Red Wings Sunday, but struggled through the ides of January. The Caps were winless in seven straight (0-5-2) from Jan. 15 through Jan. 24, but have since won three-of-five. Both teams are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and both need two points against a divisional opponent.
Ahead of tonight’s game, the Islanders held an optional morning skate at Verizon Center. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skate. The Islanders held an optional morning skate today at Verizon Center.
Lineup Notes/Changes: Nabokov Starts:
The Islanders turn to Evgeni Nabokov tonight in net. The veteran netminder has made 66 saves on 71 shots (.929 SV%) since returning from a lower-body injury on Jan. 27. Boulton In:
Eric Boulton draws into the Islanders lineup for the first time since Jan. 20, a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Evgeni Nabokov gets set during the Islanders morning skate.
Vs. the Caps:
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo lead the Islanders with three points (1g/2a) in two games against the Capitals this season.
Travis Hamonic was on the ice for Islanders morning skate, but Capuano said yesterday it was “very doubtful” he would play. Hamonic is currently progressing through the team's injury protocol. Special Teams:
The Capitals have the league’s second best power play at home, and are converting 26% of their chances at Verizon Center. The best way to neutralize the Caps man advantage is to stay out of the box. Casey Cizikas skated the past three days without the protective mouthguard on his helmet. Capuano on the Islanders power play:
We’ve done a real good job with our entries and getting in the zone, but once you get in the zone… we’re trying to make too many seam passes and trying to be too cute…We have to get pucks to the net and simplify it and that’s what good teams do. They find that two-on-one, they find a seam, they don’t pass up a shot and they converge on the net.Lubomir Visnovsky talks with the media following the Islanders morning skate. Ovechkin:
Alex Ovechkin is heating up for the Caps, with nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last five games. The Capitals captain had eight goals in January and leads the league with 39 tallies this season. Ovechkin has three goals – including an overtime winner – and one assist in two games against the Isles this season. Neuvirth:
Michal Neuvirth will start in goal tonight for the Capitals, his first start against the Islanders this season. Neuvirth is 4-5-2 with a 2.97 GAA and a .910 SV% this season. Braden Holtby started in the previous two games against the Isles this season.