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Islanders at Capitals preview

New York eyes consecutive road wins; Washington's Ovechkin trying to overtake Selanne on NHL goals list

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

ISLANDERS (24-10-3) at CAPITALS (27-8-5)



The Game

Alex Ovechkin can catch Teemu Selanne on the NHL all-time goals list when the Washington Capitals play the New York Islanders at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

Ovechkin, tied for third in the NHL with 24 goals this season, needs two to tie Selanne (684) for 11th place all-time. He's had success against the Islanders throughout his career, scoring 36 goals in 55 games.

The Capitals are 5-3-0 in their past eight games and 11-4-0 in their past 15.

New York is coming off a 3-1 win at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday but is 1-2-1 in its past four games after going 4-1-0 in its previous five. The Islanders won both visits to Washington last season under Barry Trotz, who coached Washington to the Stanley Cup in 2018 before resigning and joining New York.


Players to watch

Islanders center Mathew Barzal has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games.

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his past 12 games.


They said it

"We have a chance to finish the year against the class of the League. You look at Washington and there's not any piece that they're missing. They've got size, they've got skill, they've got experience. They've won. They're pretty well the total package. The one thing they don't have over us is probably a little bit of size." -- Islanders coach Barry Trotz

"They do give up some of the most end zone time of anybody in the League. … So, you can get there, but it's a matter of getting to the inside and making sure you're getting in situations where you can create an advantage and attack. So, those will be some things we focus on going into this game and obviously a system we're familiar with and hope to be able to match their work ethic tomorrow." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Anthony Beauvillier -- Brock Nelson -- Derick Brassard

Ross Johnston -- Josh Bailey -- Jordan Eberle

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Leo Komarov

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Thomas Greiss

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Noah Dobson, Michael Dal Colle

Injured: Cal Clutterbuck (wrist)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Richard Panik

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Travis Boyd

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Jonas Siegenthaler -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Michal Kempny -- Radko Gudas

Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: None

Injured: Christian Djoos (upper body), T.J. Oshie (illness)


Status report

The Islanders did not practice Monday. …. Kempny and Wilson practiced Monday and could return after missing two games and one game, respectively. Oshie did not practice and will be a game-time decision.


Stat pack

Lee has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past nine games. The Islanders are 7-for-7 on the penalty kill in their past two games after allowing seven power-play goals in 19 chances in their previous five. … Carlson (13 goals, 37 assists in 40 games) is the fastest Capitals defenseman to reach 50 points, surpassing Mike Green (22 goals, 28 assists in 43 games) in 2008-09. The Capitals will try for their 466th win of the 2010s in their final game of 2019. They are already assured of leading the NHL in wins in this decade and finishing with the third-highest total in any decade, trailing only two 1970s powerhouses, the Montreal Canadiens (501) and Boston Bruins (487).

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