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Preview: Islanders vs. Capitals

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (43-26-9) VS. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (55-17-6)



7 P.M. VERIZON CENTER, MSG+2, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM

1. ISLES CAN CLINCH TUESDAY:

Win and you’re in. 

The New York Islanders can clinch a playoff berth on Tuesday night with a win. They can also clinch with a Boston Bruins regulation loss. The Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden at 7 p.m. 

NHL STANDINGS

The Islanders are in the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the second wild-card Philadelphia Flyers and two back of the New York Rangers for third in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. If the playoffs started Tuesday, the Islanders would play the Florida Panthers. 

2. ISLES-CAPS IV: 



The Islanders are looking for their first win against the Capitals this season, going 0-2-1 over the first three meetings. The games have been close, with the last two being decided by one goal, including a 3-2 overtime loss at Barclays Center. The Islanders have said they think the gap between the teams in the standings is not indicative of the gap on the ice, but a win in Washington would undoubtedly be a big mental breakthrough. 

3. DE HAAN A GAMETIME DECISION, MAYFIELD RECALLED:

Calvin de Haan suffered a lower-body injury on Monday night, likely from blocking a Nikita Kucherov shot in the first period, and is a gametime decision on Tuesday night in Washington. The defenseman was in obvious pain in the first, played through it in the second and did not return for the third. Jack Capuano said Brian Strait will likely draw back into the lineup on Tuesday night, though the Islanders called up Scott Mayfield on Tuesday morning.


Mayfield has played three games with the Islanders this season, most recently against the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 2. The 23-year-old has 12 points (5G, 7A) in 52 games for the Sound Tigers this season. 

4. TAVARES SCORES 30TH GOAL:

John Tavares scored his team-leading 30th goal of the season on Monday, hitting the 30-goal plateau for the third time in his career. Tavares’ treinta was part of a three-point night (1G, 2A) against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tavares has recorded two multi-point games in the Islanders last three outings and has a team-leading 14 multi-point games this season. Tavares played on a line with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo on Monday night. 

5. HOLTBY STARTS FOR CAPS:

Braden Holtby (47 wins) is one win shy of tying Martin Brodeur’s record for most in a single season. He’ll get his shot to tie and break the record this week, as Head Coach Barry Trotz has committed to Holtby on Tuesday night against the Islanders and on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals’ goaltender is having a Vezina-caliber season, with a 47-9-5 record, a 2.17 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. 

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