Five days before opening night, the Islanders get one last dress rehearsal, as they take on the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Sunday evening (5 p.m.).
“Everyone just wants to keep feeling better each time they get on the ice,” John Tavares said. “More rhythm, more in sync with our systems and the way we want to play. Individually, you’re working on your position, your role, doing what you do best and what you are supposed to do contribute.”
The Islanders nearly have their roster set, as 28 players remain at training camp – five over the 23-man limit – for the final preseason game. Head coach Jack Capuano said he’s looking to evaluate structure and compete level. Capuano didn’t offer his specifics for his lineup, though Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech and Kevin Czuczman were recalled from Bridgeport Sunday morning.
“There are going to be some vets in the lineup, there are going to be some guys who aren’t in the lineup,” Capuano said. “We’ll make that decision, but you’ll see a little bit of a mixed lineup from our team.”
Thomas Greiss will start in goal for the Islanders Sunday, as Jaroslav Halak is day-to-day with an injury. Greiss made 22 saves in a 3-1 loss to the Capitals Monday. Thomas Hickey will also be sidelined after being placed on injured reserve Friday – retroactive to Sept. 28.
The Islanders, who haven’t played since Monday, used this past week to work on systems, as well as special teams.
“We’re down to much smaller numbers, so you get a better feel of getting everyone involved,” Tavares said. “You want to get in sync and in rhythm. It’s an important part of the game. It was up and down for us on both sides of it last year, so it’s a big part of our game that we know has to be better.”
“For everyone it’s keep building on that and end it on a good note.”
Puck drop is at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast on MSG+ and NHL Network-US.