Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak gets the start in Game One for the Islanders. Halak went 38-17-4 with six shutouts in his first season as an Islander. The 29-year-old went 2-0-0 against the Capitals this season. He is 10-11-0 lifetime in the NHL playoffs. Halak led the Montreal Canadiens over the top-seeded Capitals in seven games during the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Forwards TBD: Head Coach Jack Capuano did not offer details on tonight’s lineup. Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin missed the final three regular-season games, but practiced Monday and Tuesday and made the trip to Washington.
Playoff Debuts: Four players on the Islanders roster have yet to make their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts: Calvin de Haan, Anders Lee, Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Strome.
Playoff Experience: Johnny Boychuk (79 games), Tyler Kennedy (76 games), Nick Leddy (54 games), Lubomir Visnovsky (24 games) and Jaroslav Halak (23 games) are the only players on the Islanders with more than seven games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience.
2013 Holdovers: 13 players on the Islanders current roster also played in the team's first-round series against Pittsburgh in the 2013 NHL Playoffs.
They Said It:
Head Coach Jack Capuano on starting on the road: The last couple of years we’ve had a pretty good road record, we really don't get caught up in a lot of that stuff, cause we want to make sure the flow of the game is the way we want it to be. We will make necessary adjustments and match a few defensemen if we feel it’s appropriate.
Johnny Boychuk on the potential of not having Travis Hamonic for Game One: With our group we have a lot of guys that are NHL ready and have played in the NHL for a while. We know it’s time for guys to step up, not to fill the void, but to play their game and try to just help the team win any way possible.
Special Teams: The Capitals had the league’s best power play during the regular season (25.3%). The Islanders allowed just three power-play goals in their last 18 games, killing 39-of-42 power play opportunities over that stretch.
Boychuk on the penalty kill: Shots are a big thing, so we need to try to get in lanes, try to block the shots. It’s a tough job to try and block it, but it’s one of the main keys to winning games is blocking shots and having a good PK.
Cal Clutterbuck on the referees letting the players play in the postseason: You’re used to getting three or four power plays and penalty kills a game and all of the sudden, things go unpenalized. Once it happens a couple of times, you realize that’s the situation and you adapt. It’s been like that for the last 20 games of the season. The refs have been letting us play for a while now, so it’s nothing we aren’t used to.
Anders Lee on what he’s expecting for Game One: It’s going to be an up and down, high-paced game, a hard-nosed affair. Guys have been gearing up for this all season, everyone is ready, prepared and looking forward to the opportunity.