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Islanders at Capitals preview

Tavares surging for New York; Washington hopes to get untracked on home ice

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (7-4-1) at CAPITALS (5-6-1)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL.TV 


The Game

Center John Tavares looks to continue his hot streak when the New York Islanders play the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Thursday.

Tavares has 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in his past five games and his 11 goals are second in the NHL behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (13). He was named the League's First Star for the week ending Oct. 29 and will appear in his 600th NHL game.

The Islanders have won two straight games and five of their past six.

The Capitals have struggled at home (1-3-0), but are 8-3-3 in their past 14 games against the Islanders. Forward Alex Ovechkin is third in the League with 10 goals. He has 50 points (34 goals, 16 assists) in 46 games against New York.


Players to watch

Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak will make his third consecutive start. He is 5-2-0 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in eight appearances (seven starts).

Capitals defenseman John Carlson averages 27 minutes per game, second-highest in the League behind Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (27:23). He has led Washington in ice time in 10 of 12 games.


They said it

"It's quick movement and more so in the feet. I think we really revisited our routes, our entries and what we call finishing our routes. So it's just hunger to get that puck back and then get it off your stick and move. I think the confidence comes after that." -- Islanders coach Doug Weight on the power play, which has converted five of its past 10 chances

"We're set on our top two lines, for today anyways. But we're going to need some production from the bottom part of our lineup. We really do. We really don't have a lot there. Between our bottom six forwards I think we only have 14 points. We're going to need some of that if we're going to sustain a good, competitive level." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Brock Nelson -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Andrew Ladd -- Casey Cizikas -- Jason Chimera

Nikolay Kulemin -- Anthony Beauvillier -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech

Injured: Shane Prince (ankle) 

Capitals projected lineup

Jakub Vrana -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Chandler Stephenson -- Lars Eller -- Tom Wilson

Nathan Walker -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson

Dmitry Orlov -- Taylor Chorney

Christian Djoos -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Liam O'Brien

Injured: Brett Connolly (upper body), Andre Burakovsky (fractured left thumb), Tyler Graovac (upper body), Matt Niskanen (upper body)


Status report

Hickey replaces Pelech after being scratched for the past two games. ... O'Brien was recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League but will not play.


Stat pack

Holtby is 12-3-3 in 18 games against the Islanders. ... Chimera has appeared in 200 consecutive games, 106 with Washington and 94 with New York.

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