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Islanders need win to extend series against Capitals

by David Satriano /


TV: NBC, TVA Sports, SN

Washington leads best-of-7 series 3-2

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders are facing elimination in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Washington Capitals on Saturday in Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum.

After scoring seven goals in the first two games, the Islanders have four in three games, and one was in overtime.

New York, which has lost three of the past four games, will make some lineup changes to hopefully provide an offensive spark after a 5-1 loss in Game 5 at Verizon Center on Thursday, although coach Jack Capuano wouldn't specify what they would be.

"We've got some decisions to make now. .. It's always tough when you have to sit a guy, especially with the logjam that we have up front," Capuano said after practice Friday.

New York needs a victory to force Game 7 in Washington on Monday.

"Our backs are against the wall, but we aren’t going to change anything now," Capuano said. "We've had a good year. For me it's just trying to orchestrate a good lineup that will give us a chance to win here. We have a chance tomorrow in our building to take it to a Game 7. Our backs were against the wall a lot this season and we responded well and I think we will do the same [Saturday]."

A loss would not only close the curtain on the Islanders' season, but on Nassau Coliseum as their home. The Islanders have played here since 1972 but will move to Brooklyn next season.

"We just have to take care of business at home," forward Kyle Okposo said. "You don’t really think about that. You are thinking about your season. We want to obviously move on and keep playing. That's our main goal right now, to get a huge win in Game 6."

Captain John Tavares said he wasn't thinking about anything other than making sure the series extends until Monday.

"We didn’t play very well [in Game 5]," he said. "Had a chance going into the third and seemed like when they got that third goal, we lost a little life from it. We have to come out hungry [Saturday] and play right til the end."

Coach Barry Trotz said the Capitals won't have any extra motivation knowing they could win the last game at Nassau Coliseum.

"We have to win a series [Saturday]. There is no bonus," he said. "Winning the series is the bonus."

Washington goalie Braden Holtby has stopped 98 of 102 shots in the past three games.

"If we prepare and I prepare like every game we have, we will win four out of seven games every time," Holtby said.

"I think there's a limit every team knows they can play at. I think both teams will want to reach that [Saturday]. I think all other factors aside, we're both going to focus on what we need to do and it's going to be a good, hard-fought hockey game until the end."


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