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Islanders at Capitals preview

Holtby back in goal for first-place Washington; New York 1-5-4 in past 10

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (30-30-10) at CAPITALS (40-23-7)

7 p.m. ET; SN1, TVAS, MSG+, NBCSW, NHL.TV 

The Game 

Braden Holtby is expected to start in goal for the first time in five games when the Washington Capitals host the New York Islanders at Capital One Arena on Friday.

Washington tries for a back-to-back sweep of the Islanders and maintain first place in the Metropolitan Division, where they are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 85 points with two fewer games played.

The Capitals defeated the Islanders 7-3 at Barclays Center on Thursday.

Holtby last played March 6 against the Anaheim Ducks and allowed three goals on nine shots. Philipp Grubauer started the past four games (3-1-0) for Washington, which has won three in a row.

Holtby has the worst numbers of his career in goals-against average (3.03) and save percentage (.907) in 48 games.

The Islanders have lost nine of 10 (1-5-4) and are 10 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Players to watch

Islanders forward John Tavares has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past 10 games.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is one goal from tying Jari Kurri for 19th place on the NHL all-time (601).


They Said It

"It's a pretty quick turnaround in this League. I don't think anyone's going to be sitting on tonight or worrying about tonight's loss…We'll be back on the horse [Friday]." -- Islanders forward Mathew Barzal on playing the Capitals again after a 7-3 loss Thursday.

"A couple days in practice, you're not worrying about conserving energy. You can really just work through things. It's something I haven't had in quite a few years." -- Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on sitting four games for backup Philipp Grubauer.


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Andrew Ladd -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier -- Brock Nelson -- Tanner Fritz 

Ross Johnston -- Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Brandon Davidson -- Adam Pelech

Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock 

Jaroslav Halak

Christopher Gibson

Scratched: Chris Wagner, Sebastian Aho, Dennis Seidenberg

Injured: Thomas Greiss (lower body), Nikolay Kulemin (upper body), Calvin de Haan (upper body), Scott Mayfield (lower body), Shane Prince (lower body), Alan Quine (lower body)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Andre Burakovsky -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Jakub Vrana

Chandler Stephenson -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Christian Djoos 

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Jakub Jerabek, Alex Chiasson, Travis Boyd

Injured: None

Status report

Djoos is expected back in the lineup for Jerabek, who played the past four games. … Halak is expected to start in goal for the Islanders after relieving Gibson in the second period on Thursday. 

Stat pack

The Capitals have earned a point in 14 of their past 17 games against the Islanders (10-4-3). … Lee is one goal from tying his career high (34) set last season.  

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