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Capitals at Islanders preview

Ovechkin can crack top 10 on NHL all-time goals list for Washington; Greiss could start for New York

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

CAPITALS (32-11-5) at ISLANDERS (28-14-4)



The Game

Alex Ovechkin will try to become one of the NHL's top 10 all-time goal-scorers when the Washington Capitals visit the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday.

The forward, who had a hat trick in a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, has 689 goals, one fewer than Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, who is No. 10 on the all-time list. 

Ovechkin, who has five goals in his past two games, is three goals behind Steve Yzerman for ninth place and five behind Mark Messier for eighth.

The Capitals, who lead the Metropolitan Division, have won two straight and are 5-2-0 in their past seven games, will play their final game before their NHL-mandated five-day break; they don't play again until Jan. 27 at the Montreal Canadiens.

Goalie Thomas Greiss could start for the Islanders after Semyon Varlamov allowed three goals on 28 shots in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday. The Islanders are 1-2-1 in their past four games after going 4-2-0 in their previous six.


Players to watch

Capitals forward Jakub Vrana has six goals in his past seven games after going 10 games without one.

Islanders forward Josh Bailey has scored in two straight games after going 15 games without one.


They said it

"Obviously 1 o'clock game, the starts are so important, especially against a team like the Islanders. Focus in for another day here and then the guys will have a good chance to get away from the game for a little bit." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

"We can't look back, we've got to look forward all the time. We have a big test coming up, we got Washington obviously here and then we've got [the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday]. Those are two pretty good opponents. This is a tough stretch, a lot of divisional stuff, a lot of points on the line." -- Islanders coach Barry Trotz


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Jonas Siegenthaler -- Radko Gudas

Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Travis Boyd

Injured: None


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier -- Brock Nelson -- Derick Brassard

Ross Johnston -- Josh Bailey -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Leo Komarov

Nick Leddy -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Noah Dobson -- Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Greiss

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Michael Dal Colle, Sebastian Aho

Injured: Adam Pelech (Achilles), Cal Clutterbuck (wrist)


Status report

Holtby will start after Samsonov started the past two games for the Capitals, Reirden said. … The Islanders sent forward Otto Koivula to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Friday. 


Stat pack

The Capitals rank second in the NHL on the penalty kill (84.4 percent) and are tied for second (with five other teams) in shorthanded goals allowed (seven). … The Islanders were 0-for-5 on the power play against the Rangers and are 1-for-22 in their past 12 games.

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