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Morning Skate Updates: Isles-Caps Game Two

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak gets the start in Game Two for the Islanders. Halak made 24 saves in the Islanders 4-1 win in Game One. Halak improved to 11-11 lifetime in the NHL playoffs.

Skaters TBD: Head Coach Jack Capuano did not offer other details on tonight’s lineup.

Holtby Likely To Start: Braden Holtby was reportedly under the weather, but Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz said the plan is for him to start Game Two.

Caps Recall Grubauer: The Capitals recalled Philipp Grubauer from the Hershey Bears (AHL) Friday morning. Grubauer was recalled as insurance in case Braden Holtby is unable to play tonight.

E=mc2=hits: Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck were reunited in Game One (Martin was out three games with an undisclosed injury) and set the physical tone for the Islanders. The trio combined for 16 hits, nearly half of the Islanders 36 bodychecks.

Cal Clutterbuck on his line’s physical play: It’s something we've been doing all year and especially against a big heavy team like Washington, it’s obviously important to have that element and that push back. It helped in general with the game and the feeling of push back and them feeling that they are getting hit.

Hard-Hitting Caps: The Capitals recorded 46 hits in Game One, with Brooks Orpik leading the way with nine. Alex Ovechkin and Curtis Glencross were second with five hits apiece. Tom Wilson (205 hits in 67 games) could return to the Capitals lineup tonight, adding to Washington’s physical presence.

In addition to being the league’s top goal scorer Ovechkin is known for throwing his 230 lbs. body around. Ovechkin recorded 259 hits in the regular season, 10th in the NHL.

Matt Martin on Alex Ovechkin: We’ve bumped a few times, but he’s a big guy, he uses his body well and he’s a physical force. When he’s scoring goals, he’s using his body to protect the puck and drive his way to the net. Once he’s going full speed, 230 lbs. guy is hard to stop. We have to try to limit him from building that speed.

They Said It:

Thomas Hickey on playing against Alex Ovechkin and the Caps top line: They see an advantage with size there. Vis and I aren’t a big pair, but we are up to that challenge and understand what they are trying to do. We can play to our strengths and take away from perceived weaknesses too. We are probably going to see more of that and we have to be ready for it.

John Tavares on Game Two: We have to expect their best game. Certainly they are going to come out hard, wanting to respond from last game. There are different feels to every game and certainly we don’t want to feel comfortable. We want to go out there and make sure we have urgency in our game right from the get to.

We have to understand the opportunity we have. It’s a great chance to steal two games on the road. That’s not an easy thing to do, but we have that here and we have to go out and try and grasp that.

Hickey on staying in Annapolis, MD: It worked out well for us, it was quiet, we had a room where the guys got together and we watched playoff hockey. The road is a good place to be when you’re with your teammates away from home and you’re together all the time. We enjoyed it, it was nice and quiet, good town and fun playing at [the Naval Academy] too.

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