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Capitals regroup for Game 2 vs. Islanders

by Jon Lane /



New York leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The New York Islanders will try to take a 2-0 series lead back to Nassau Coliseum when they play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. The Islanders grabbed some momentum after failing to clinch home-ice advantage during the regular season, but are expecting the Capitals' best effort in Game 2.

"That's going to have to raise our game, raise our play, raise our intensity and focus, and the things that need to be done to get a win [Friday]," captain John Tavares said in audio provided by the Islanders. "You expect teams when they make the playoffs they're here for a reason and certainly Washington has proven that. Our focus has to be one game at a time and [Friday] is another opportunity, another challenge, and we want to be able to seize that."

Washington coach Barry Trotz held an optional skate Thursday to allow his players to recover and regroup for Game 2. The Capitals will have to clean up their mistakes from Game 1, when they committed 11 giveaways (seven in the first period), and by Trotz's count allowed seven scoring chances. The Islanders also clogged the neutral zone, which several players told the Washington Post made them look slow.

"We have to play quicker, we have to play better, we have to execute better," Trotz said in video posted by Monumental Network. "We had too many guys that didn't play the way they needed to play. There's some things that we can do better and we will do better [Friday]. There will be some minor adjustments in terms of what we do and we'll go at it [Friday]. Like anything, every game is a different journey, different adventure."

The Capitals also need to find a way to get Alex Ovechkin going. Ovechkin, who scored 53 goals in the regular season, was held off the score sheet Wednesday despite having eight shots on goal.

"At times I thought he could do some things better but that goes for the whole group," Trotz said. "He was trying to generate shots. We just need a little more consistency in some areas where he can get himself open a little bit."

The Capitals are 9-6 all-time in Game 2 after losing the opening game of a series. They're hoping a few subtle adjustments made Thursday will help them get back on track.

"They were a lot better," Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "That sounds simple, but they played a lot better than we did and they won Game 1. We think it's going to be a long series, if we respond in the right way. We're going to make a few adjustments and get ready to bring our best effort in Game 2."


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