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New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals

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GAME: New York Islanders (13-15-2-1) at Washington Capitals (10-19-3-1).

TIME: Sunday, 6 p.m. EST.

The Washington Capitals have been playing better lately, and should have a good chance to keep up their improved play as they face the New York Islanders at the MCI Center.

The Capitals have beaten the Islanders twice already this season, and are 24-1-3-1 in the teams' last 29 meetings against.

Washington opened a five-game, 11-day homestand Friday night with a 2-2 tie against Toronto, improving to 2-1-2 under new coach Glen Hanlon -- who replaced Bruce Cassidy on Dec. 10.

The Capitals are unbeaten in their last three contests (1-0-2) while allowing just four goals during that stretch. A win or tie in this matchup would extend that streak to a season-high four straight.

"We've been awful for the first two months, but now we're starting to turn it around a bit," said Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig, 23-5-2 with a 2.11 GAA in his career against New York. "I think we're on the way up, and they're on the way down."

The Islanders are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Flyers on Saturday, despite Alexei Yashin's sixth goal in eight games.

The Islanders dropped their second straight since a 4-0-0-1 stretch that followed a seven-game losing streak. They looked better than in a 4-3 loss at the New York Rangers on Thursday, but not enough to win their first road game since Nov. 19 at Florida (0-5-0-1).

"They played pretty damn well until Madison Square Garden," Islanders general manager Mike Milbury said before the game. "We show up and play hard some nights, and then it seems like a struggle to do it."

The disparity between how the Islanders play at home compared to the road is striking. At Nassau Coliseum they are 11-6 but only 2-9-2-1 on the road.

"It seems like at home we play pretty hard," forward Arron Asham said. "Then we come on the road and play hard for a period, period and a half, but that's not enough to win."

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