With four games remaining in the season, three on home ice at Verizon Center, the Capitals are basically looking begin hitting their play-off stride. With games against the Islanders, Penguins, Blues and Ducks, the final week of the season should provide for an excellent tune-up for the Caps.
The Caps lead the season series with a 3-0-0 record, outscoring the Isles 10-5. The team’s last faced-off on February 4th at Verizon Center, with the Capitals taking the 3-2 win.
Cheers to the Good Guys:
The Caps come into this game off a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Nicklas Backstrom will be missing his third straight game with a minor injury sustained during the team’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. It seems to be more of a precaution than anything else. Alex Ovechkin still leads the NHL with 45 goals, although Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks is just two goals behind him with three games left.
Scouting the Islanders:
the Isles come into this game having won four out of their last five games (NOT including tonight’s game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team is currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 93 points, and twelfth in the NHL. The Isles currently hold the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
For Washington: Braden Holtby is expected to start for the Caps, and is the league leader in wins with 47. He ranks 13th with a 2.17 goals-against average. He holds a 47-9-5 record with a .924 save percentage and three shutouts.
For New York: Thomas Greiss got the start Monday night at home against the Lightning, so it is uncertain at this point who will get the nod to face the Capitals. Greiss has a 21-11-4 record with a 2.37 GAA, .924 save percentage, and one shutout. If Greiss in unable to go in the second of the back-to-back set, current backup goalie Jean-Francois Berube will likely get the start. Note: On March 9th, the Isles abbounced that Goalie Jaroslav Halak would be out 6-8 weeks.
Players to Watch:
Braden Holtby: Holtby has the chance to tie Martin Brodeur for the most wins in a single season at 48. With three games remaining in the season after tomorrow night’s game, Holtby has an opportunity to reach 50 wins.
Nikolay Kulemin– the 29-year old Kulemin comes into this game having recorded four points in his last five games (two goals, two assists). On the season, he has eight goals, 12 assists, and 20 points in 77 games. He has no points in the three previous meetings with the Caps.
Television and Radio Info:
TV: Comcast Sportsnet Washington 7:00 P.M.
Radio: 106.7 FM
By Michael Fleetwood