CAPITALS (33-10-6) at ISLANDERS (21-17-9)
7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-DC+, NHL.TV
Capitals team scope
The Washington Capitals, who are 13-1-1 in their past 15 games, will have defenseman John Carlson in the lineup for the first time since he sustained a lower-body injury Jan. 15. Carlson, the Capitals' leader in average ice time per game (22:53), has five goals and 25 points in 43 games. The Capitals went 4-1-1 in the six games Carlson missed but allowed 20 goals. The Capitals, who have allowed 82 goals in 43 games with Carlson in the lineup, will be facing a New York Islanders team that is 5-0-1 in its past six games and hasn't lost in regulation since Doug Weight replaced Jack Capuano as coach Jan. 17. "I think they're recommitted, they're refocused, they're 4-0-1 since the [coaching] change," coach Barry Trotz said. "They know they have to make up some ground, so their [Stanley Cup] Playoff push has started a little bit [early] here. They're playing good hockey, and they won their last game before the [coaching] change as well."
Islanders team scope
The Islanders will play their first game of the second half without defenseman Thomas Hickey and right wing Cal Clutterbuck because of lower-body injuries. Hickey and Clutterbuck each skated Tuesday morning but neither is ready to play. Clutterbuck re-aggravated his injury during a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and will be replaced by Shane Prince. Hickey will miss his second straight game. "These guys are looking pretty good and they're feeling pretty good, but we want to make sure we're diligent about it and get them back healthy," Weight said. The Islanders are five points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference but have three games in hand on the Flyes. "We're picking our pace up a little bit here," Weight said. "I think our games played show that we're going to have a lot of hockey to come. A couple of teams still have their bye weeks ahead of them, so we've got some ground to make up and every game's huge. Guys got some rest and got rejuvenated, and now we go back to work."
Capitals projected lineup
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams
Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner -- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt
Scratched: Christian Djoos, Taylor Chorney, Chandler Stephenson
Islanders projected lineup
Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier -- Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin -- Casey Cizikas -- Shane Prince
Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg
Adam Pelech -- Scott Mayfield
Scratched: Stephen Gionta
Injured: Travis Hamonic (knee), Thomas Hickey (lower body), Cal Clutterbuck (lower body)
Grubauer will start for the third time in the past five games. Holtby and Ovechkin, who played at the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, were at Barclays Center on Tuesday morning. … Hamonic did not skate Tuesday, but Weight said he's progressing well. Hamonic was injured during a game against the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 7. "He's inching along, but he still has some stiffness and pain," Weight said. "He'll be back as fast as possible if we know Travis. He's working hard at his rehab. Nothing to update yet, but he's definitely going to be on the ice pretty soon."
Ovechkin has five goals and 10 assists in his past 10 games. Orlov has two goals and two assists in the past three games. … Tavares has eight goals and five assists in his past eight games. Lee has three goals and four assists in his past six games. Greiss is 4-0-1 with two shutouts in his past five starts.