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Islanders-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom

If they play another close game, the New York Islanders hope it goes their way this time.

The Islanders look for a rare victory in the nation's capital when they visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

New York (32-23-9) had its season-high four-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Louis on Thursday. The Islanders finished 5-1-1 on their homestand, with the last five games decided by one goal.

They led 2-0 heading into the third period Thursday, but allowed the Blues to tie it and eventually escape with the extra point.

"It's a valuable point," Islanders center Mike Sillinger said. "But for the last few games, we've had a two-goal lead and let other teams tie it up. We have to correct that, and do it quickly."

Ryan Smyth, New York's big acquisition at the trading deadline, assisted on Sillinger's goal and played a role in New York's second score. He was acquired from Edmonton on Tuesday after spending the first 11-plus seasons of his career with the Oilers.

"I was nervous and excited in the same breath," said Smyth, who scored 31 goals in 53 games this season for the Oilers. "I was waiting for the Canadian anthem to be played."

After this game, the Islanders play a home-and-home against the New York Rangers before hosting the Capitals (24-29-12) next Saturday. The Islanders have won six of the last eight meetings between these teams, but have just two victories in their last 19 trips to Washington.

New York is in a fight with several other teams for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference while the Capitals are just trying to find a victory somewhere.

Washington is last in the Southeast Division with 60 points and has lost the first three games of a four-game homestand, the last two defeats coming in shootouts.

The Capitals are just 1-10 in shootouts this season and missed all 10 attempts in a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday. Last season, they went 7-6 in shootout games.

"I'm pro shootout," Capitals goalie Brent Johnson said. "I think it's great for the fans (and) it's fun for us. It hasn't been that rewarding for us this year. ... There are so many losses in the shootout this year I can't even remember how many it is."

Washington, which has lost eight of its past nine, hasn't scored on its last 14 shootout attempts. The Capitals' only victory this season in the tiebreaker was a 2-1 win over the Islanders on Feb. 4.

After a 15-10-7 start, Washington has lost 24 of its last 33 games.

"I didn't think this would happen," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "But there's still 18 or so games left in the season. There's always a chance; it's slim. You know, we're going to play these 18 like it's the first 18 games of next season. That's what we did last year and it carried over huge to the first part of this year."

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