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Islanders at Capitals preview

New York tries to secure second in Metropolitan Division; Washington seeks sixth win in seven games

by Harvey Valentine / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (47-27-7) at CAPITALS (48-25-8)



The Game

The New York Islanders will try to secure second place in the Metropolitan Division when they visit the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

The Islanders, 5-2-0 in their past seven games, can clinch second place and home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against Washington or if the Pittsburgh Penguins lose to the New York Rangers in any fashion.

The Capitals, 5-1-0 in their past six games, clinched their fourth straight Metropolitan Division championship and home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs with a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.


Players to watch

Islanders goalie Robin Lehner is 20-7-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and four shutouts in his past 31 games (28 starts).

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in his past 24 games.


They said it

"To be able to play for something [in Game 82] is, I think, good for us. It will help us leading into the playoffs. It's a good opportunity for us. Obviously, they're a good team and we want home-ice advantage, so we need to be ready to go tonight." -- Islanders forward Matt Martin

"Last year I thought he felt really good about playing in that last game and that gave him a competitive advantage going into the series against Columbus. He felt like that was something that sets him up best for success." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden on playing forward Alex Ovechkin against the Islanders


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Josh Bailey -- Brock Nelson -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Anthony Beauvillier -- Valtteri Filppula -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Robin Lehner

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston, Thomas Hickey, Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg

Injured: Tanner Fritz (hand), Andrew Ladd (knee)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Jakub Vrana -- Travis Boyd -- Dmitrij Jaskin

Andre Burakovsky -- Nic Dowd -- Chandler Stephenson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Jonas Siegenthaler -- Nick Jensen

Brooks Orpik -- Christian Djoos

Pheonix Copley

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Nathan Walker

Injured: Michal Kempny (lower body)


Status report

Lehner was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate. Filppula (upper body) returns after missing eight games. … Reirden will rest Backstrom, Oshie and Carlson. Walker was recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League on Friday.


Stat pack

The Islanders have 10 shutouts, tying their single-season record; they also had 10 in 1975-76. … Ovechkin's next power-play goal will move him past Luc Robitaille (247) into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL all-time list.

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