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Islanders-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom

After quick starts, the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals have been cooled off.

Both teams look to avoid their third straight loss Thursday night when they face off at the Verizon Center in their second meeting of the season.

The Islanders (3-3-0) opened their season with an impressive home-and-home sweep of Buffalo, scoring nine goals in the two wins. In four games since, however, they have managed only five goals while losing three of four.

Another strong performance from goaltender Rick DiPietro wasn't enough Saturday in New York's 3-1 loss at Philadelphia.

Josef Vasicek scored his first goal of the season and DiPietro stopped 20 of 22 shots for the Islanders, who outshot the Flyers 15-6 in the third period.

"In the first period I just don't believe we went to the net hard enough," coach Ted Nolan said. "In the third period, we skated much better, we moved the puck better."

New York's top line of Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko combined for five goals and 11 assists in the sweep of Buffalo, but has been limited to one goal and three assists in the past four contests.

Even if the top line improves its production, the Islanders need scoring from other sources to be successful. Forwards Mike Sillinger, Miroslav Satan and Trent Hunter have combined for one goal this season after totaling 73 in 2006-07.

DiPietro has been the Islanders' best player, going 3-2-0 with a 2.21 goals-against average. Although he allowed two goals or fewer for the sixth straight start against Washington, DiPietro was outplayed by counterpart Olaf Kolzig in a 2-1 loss to the Capitals at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 8.

While DiPietro stopped 10 of 12 shots, Kolzig made 30 saves, improving his career record against the Islanders to 26-9-0 with two ties, the most wins he has versus any opponent.

Since beating the Islanders for their third straight win, the Capitals (3-2-0) have been outshot 94-51 in road losses to the New York Rangers and Buffalo.

Mike Green and Michael Nylander each had a goal and an assist in Washington's 7-3 defeat Saturday to the Sabres, who registered 40 of 53 shots over the final two periods.

"We had control of the puck and were making the right plays, but now we're turning over the puck and making the high-risk plays," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said.

Backup Brent Johnson was in net against Buffalo, almost assuring that Kolzig will make his 38th start against the Islanders.

One Capital that is not expected to be in the lineup Thursday is right wing Alexander Semin, who has played only one game this season because of a right ankle sprain. Semin - second on the team with 38 goals last season - is day-to-day.

Star left wing Alex Ovechkin has one point in each game this season. He has four goals and three assists in eight career games against New York.

The Islanders are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games against the Capitals after winning only one of the previous 29 meetings.

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