Game Preview: Capitals @ Islanders

Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

And down the stretch they come!” With the conclusion of All-Star weekend festivities, it’s officially “go-time”, as teams now shift their focus from vacation to making the final push for the playoffs. The Capitals will restart their engines Tuesday night in Brooklyn, when they face the resurgent Islanders. Puck drop is 7:00PM. 

Since the last meeting with the Capitals, the Islanders have parted ways with head coach Jack Capuano, and since then, interim head coach Doug Weight has had the team playing inspired hockey. The Islanders are 4-0-1 since the coaching change.

The Islander gave up on the three-headed goalie monster, when they waived Jaroslav Halas on December 31st. Halak cleared waivers and is now playing for the Islanders minor league club in Bridgeport. Halak was 6-8-5 with a 3.23 goals-against average and .904 save percentage this season for the Islanders.

Thomas Greiss has drawn a majority of the starts in goal, and entered the All-Star break on a bit of a hot streak. Greiss will likely get the start against the Capitals on Tuesday.


Special Teams:
The Islanders power play still remains near the bottom of the league, ranked 26th, with a 14.6 conversion rate. The Islanders penalty kill is doing a little better, currently ranked 21st in the league with an 80.1 success rate, for a combined special teams index (STI) of 94.7. The league’s current mean average STI is 100.1.

Shots Fired:
The Islanders are currently ranked 8th in the league in shot attempts per game with an average of 30.6 shots per game. On the flip side, the Islanders are currently giving up the third most shot attempts in the league, with an average of 32.9 shots per game.

The Islanders may be a few players short on Tuesday night, although nothing official has been announced as of yet. There were several no-shows at Monday’s practice.

Caps Nation will have their eyes on the offense on Tuesday night, to see if the team can carry-over their impressive hot streak that led into the All-Star break.

The Capitals recalled Christian Djoos and Chandler Stephenson on Monday morning. The move is considered an insurance policy with a back-to-back set of games to play on Tuesday and Wednesday. John Carlson is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday night, after missing consecutive six games with a lower body injury.

Philipp Grubauer will get the start Tuesday night in Brooklyn, with Braden Holtby starting at home against the Bruins on Wednesday night. Holtby and Alex Ovechkin did not participate in Monday’s practice, and are expected to travel directly from the All-Star game in Los Angeles to New York on Monday.


Special Teams:
The Capitals power play continues to improve, currently ranked 13th in the league with a conversion rate of 20.7%. This is their highest conversion rate of the season so far. The Capitals penalty kill has dropped to 4th in the league, with an 85.1% success rate, for a combined special teams index (STI) of 105.8. The league’s current mean average STI is 100.1.

Shots Fired:
The Capitals are currently 16th in the league in shot attempts per game with an average of 29.8 shots per game. The Capitals are ranked 7th in shot attempts allowed per game with an average of 28.2 shots per game.



The Islanders beat the Capitals 4-3 in the last meeting between the two teams on December 27th at Barclays Center. The loss was the first of a pair of consecutive losses for the Capitals against the last place team in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals would tie the game 2-2 early in the third period on a goal by Alex Ovechkin, before giving up two quick goals to the Islanders to lose it 4-2.

Series Rewind:

NHL game preview (NHL)
Caps Get Back to Work in Brooklyn (Mike Vogel)

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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