The Caps head to Brooklyn after a 4-0 whitewashing of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Due to collective bargaining rules regarding the holiday break, the team will be required to travel to Brooklyn Tuesday morning, play the game and return to Virginia Tuesday night. The game will be broadcast on Comcast Sportsnet and puck drop is 7:00 P.M.
The Islanders come into this game having won two straight, including a 5-1 demolition of the Buffalo Sabres. The Isles are led in scoring by superstar captain John Tavares and are currently last in the Metropolitan Division with a dismal 13-14-6 record.
The Islanders’ special teams have been nothing to write home about. Their power play ranks 27th in the NHL with a 14.29% success rate, and their penalty kill is only slightly better at 21st with an 80% success rate. In their last game against the Sabres, the Isles went 1-2 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.
The Capitals begin a busy stretch of 12 games in 21 days Tuesday night in Brooklyn. The Capitals come into this contest having lost two of their last three games, despite improved play from several key players, such as John Carlson, who recorded two goals in the Caps’ 4-0 win against the Lightning. They haven’t played since December 23. The Caps have received strong goaltending all year from defending Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby and backup Philipp Grubauer. The Caps are led in the scoring department by Nicklas Backstrom (nine goals, 20 assists).
The Capitals have seen both of their special teams units improve in the last month or so, as their power play ranks 12th in the league with a 19% success rate and their penalty kill is once again one of the best in the NHL with a success rate of 84.76%, good enough for sixth place. In their 4-0 win over the Lightning, the Caps went 3-3 on the penalty kill and 0-2 on the power play. They currently sit fourth in the Metropolitan division with 44 points.
Metropolitan Division Standings:
This is the fourth of five meetings between these two division rivals and the third in the month of December. The teams will finish the season series on January 31 at Barclays Center. The Caps have an lifetime record of 104-85-13-6 (including ties) against the Islanders. Likewise, the Isles have a lifetime record of 91-90-13-14 (including ties) against the Caps. So far this season, the Capitals have taken two of three games from the Islanders, including a 4-2 win in their last meeting.
December 13, 2016
– The Capitals have earned a point in 11 of their last 12 games against the Isles and in seven straight road games against New York.
– In his career, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has 47 points (32 goals, 15 assists) in 44 games played against the Islanders.
– Braden Holtby (15-7-3) is expected to get the start for Washington, while Jaroslav Halak (18-5-8) is expected to go for New York.
– Former Capital Jason Chimera will face his former team for the fourth time this season, and has one goal in the first three games.
– Nicklas Backstrom is three assists away from reaching 500 assists in his career and defenseman Matt Niskanen is two assists shy of 200.
Caps Get Back to Work in Brooklyn (Mike Vogel)
Game Notes at NY Islanders, 12/26/16 (Capitals PR)
By Michael Fleetwood