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Caps aim for sweep of Islanders

by Brian Compton
ISLANDERS (23-32-8) at CAPITALS (36-20-5)


Last 10: New York 6-3-1; Washington 5-5-0.

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Washington is going for a series sweep, although the Caps have hardly dominated the Islanders. All three previous matchups were decided by just one goal.

Big Story: Just minutes before Monday's trade deadline, the Capitals bolstered their offense with the acquisition of Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for David Steckel. Arnott, 36, has 13 goals and 11 assists this season. He helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup in 2000 and brings that tremendous experience with him to a team that desperately needs it.

It was the second big move of the day made by Washington GM George McPhee. Earlier on Monday, the Caps acquired defenseman Dennis Wideman from the Florida Panthers for Jake Hauswirth and a third-round draft pick. Washington also claimed Marco Sturm off waivers from Los Angeles on Saturday.

"I'm really happy with what we've acquired and addressed and the specific needs that we had," McPhee said. "They're all good, experienced, veteran players that hopefully will assimilate quickly and help us." 

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York was quiet on Monday, as GM Garth Snow could not find the deals he wanted for players such as Radek Martinek and Zenon Konopka. The Islanders, winless in three straight, enter Tuesday's action 13 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We didn't just want to cut players loose," Islanders GM Garth Snow told Newsday. "I like the group we have in that room now."

Capitals: Washington looked awfully flat in the early going Saturday night -- it was outshot 14-5 in the opening period -- but the Caps rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Islanders 3-2 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Brooks Laich was the catalyst, as the pending unrestricted free agent had a goal and an assist.

"The main thing is a good feeling going back home after (Friday) night," said Laich, referring to an embarrassing 6-0 loss to the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center. "You want to forget about (Friday) night's game. It wasn't pretty and we were disappointed with what happened. But to bounce back, especially after being down 2-0, we showed some resolve and came back to get a hard-fought win."

Who's Hot: Rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic has three goals and 11 points in his last 14 games for the Islanders. … Caps forward Mike Knuble has two points in his last three contests.

Injury Report: Decimated by injuries all season, the Islanders will be without Mark Streit (shoulder), Mark Eaton (hip), Mike Mottau (hip), Radek Martinek (lower body), Milan Jurcina (groin), Doug Weight (back), Trent Hunter (knee) and goalies Rick DiPietro (facial fractures, knee swelling) and Kevin Poulin (knee). … Caps defenseman Tom Poti (lower body) and forward Eric Fehr (upper body) are likely to be out for Washington. Mike Green is expected to miss up to two weeks after being hit in the head for the second time in as many weeks last Friday against the Rangers.

Stat Pack: In the first game of this home-and-home series on Saturday night, the Islanders recorded the game's first 11 shots on goal. … New York's defense corps had only 627 games of experience entering the game, and Bruno Gervais (317) was responsible for more than half of it.

Puck Drop: "There weren't many centers available, and [Arnott] was one that a lot of people wanted to have. He had a no-trade-clause and when [Devils GM] Lou [Lamoriello] told him we were interested, he was hoping that it would work out with us, and Lou played it real well and made it happen." -- Capitals GM George McPhee
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