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Capitals-Islanders Preview @NHLdotcom
Capitals-Islanders Preview

GAME: Washington Capitals (18-27-5) at New York Islanders (22-25-3).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The New York Islanders seek their second three-game winning streak of the season when they host a Washington Capitals team they've beaten just twice in the last 15 meetings at Nassau Coliseum.

New York, which last won three straight from Nov. 12-16, has won three in a row against the Capitals but is just 2-12-0 with one tie at home against Washington since the 1997-98 season.

The Islanders have found an offensive rhythm of late, recording consecutive 4-3 wins over Pittsburgh and Boston. Entering the game with the Penguins, the Islanders had scored at least four goals once in their last 14 games, going 3-10-1.

In the victory over the Bruins, Alexei Zhitnik and Mark Parrish scored 20 seconds apart midway through the third period to erase a 3-2 deficit. The Islanders had 21 shots in the period en route to a season-high 51.

Goaltender Rick DiPietro made 17 of his 41 saves in the final period and thwarted a two-man advantage for Boston with just under 6 minutes to play.

"It just seems like that kind of stuff has happened to us in the third period when we have a lead," DiPietro said. "Hopefully, we can use this game as a turning point in the season."

The Capitals ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

Washington totaled four shots in the opening period and was outshot 35-24 for the game, but Jeff Halpern and Dainius Zubrus scored the game's final two goals to give Washington its first win this season when scoring less than three goals.

Zubrus' winner came with 2:20 left in the third period after a double-teamed Alexander Ovechkin found Chris Clark skating through traffic, and Clark tapped the puck to Zubrus.

"If two guys are going to go to (Ovechkin), right away as soon as he's into the zone, it means there's always going to be someone open," Clark said. "After (50 games), people are starting to realize that this is the guy they have to go to."

Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig has lost consecutive starts against the Islanders, but is 23-7-0 with two ties and a 2.25 goal-against average against them in his career - his most wins versus any opponent.

STANDINGS: Capitals - 41 points, 5th place, 35 PB, Southeast Division. Islanders - 47 points, 4th place, 23 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 34 goals, 31 assists and 65 points; Brendan Witt, 125 PIM. Islanders - Parrish and Miroslav Satan, 19 goals; Alexei Yashin and Mike York, 26 assists; Yashin, 43 points; Arron Asham, 88 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Capitals - Power play: 13.7 percent (42 for 306), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.3 percent (279 for 352), 27th. Islanders - Power play: 17.1 percent (50 for 292), 18th. Penalty killing: 79.8 percent (252 for 316), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Kolzig (14-19-5, 3.43 GAA); Brent Johnson (4-7-0, 4.01). Islanders - DiPietro (16-15-3, 3.42); Wade Dubielewicz (2-3-0, 2.90).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 13; Islanders, 5-3. At Washington, Jason Blake and Petteri Nokelainen each had a goal and an assist for New York.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 6-15-1 on the road; Islanders - 11-12-1 at home.

Associated Press
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