Pregame Report: New York Islanders Vs. Washington Capitals


Apr 4, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) makes a save on New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during a shootout at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Eyes on Isles Pregame Report


Tonight, the New York Islanders (6-5-3, 15 points) take on the Washington Capitals (7-7-0, 14 points) in game number 15 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before  puck drop…

Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.

When: 11/5/13, 7:00 PM EST

Watch: MSG + (HD) – Howie Rose, Butch Goring

Listen: WRHU (88.7 FM), WRCN (103.9 FM) – Chris King

The Islanders open up  their four game road trip against the Washington Capitals tonight. Tonight marks the first of four games the Islanders and the Capitals will play against each other this season.

The Islanders are riding off a bit of momentum coming into tonight’s game, following a shootout win in Ottawa and an impressive 3-1 victory against the Boston Bruins. The team looked sharp over the two weekend games, and many positives were taken out of their play, most notably the play of back-up goaltender Kevin Poulin.

Despite what fans and writers alike have been speculating after a strong performance against Boston , goaltender Kevin Poulin will be riding the bench tonight as Evgeni Nabokov gets his 13th start in goal tonight.

However, the Islander main concern heading into tonight’s game will be their defense. With Brian Strait joining fellow defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky on the IR, the Islanders will be bringing just six defenseman to tonight’s game in Washington.

This begs the question, are the Islanders going to recall from Bridgeport? While no official word has been said on the matter, it’s likely that one of the Islanders’ defensive prospects will get brief NHL time possibly as soon as the Islanders next game while the team’s regulars recover from injuries.

The Capitals, riding a two game winning streak of their own, will have superstar forward Alex Ovechkin back from an upper body injury. Ovechkin has been superb thus far, having scored 10 goals in 12 games played, good for fourth in the league.

Braden Holtby is set to make this 6th start in net for Washington tonight. Holtby has had himself a decent season, posting 5 wins, a .921 SV%, and a 2.74 GA in 11 appearances this season.

With that briefing, the game should be an even match. Two strong offensive teams will take the ice tonight, and with two goaltenders who have been letting some pucks into the back of the net, tonight could be a pretty high scoring game. However, given the Islanders’ recent success against Washington, they should emerge as victors tonight. If the defense can replicate a solid outing as they did on Saturday night, the Islanders forwards should be able score their way to victory.

What They’re Saying…

Jack Capuano on starting Evgeni Nabokov tonight: “You look at the history, Nabby has played well here. We’ve got two guys who can do the job and Nabby gets the start tonight” (link)

Thomas Vanek on the play of the team over the weekend: “We worked hard again. That’s night games in a row we put 60 minutes together.  We deserved to win…The (Coliseum) atmosphere is electric.” (link)

“We played well tonight… we did some good things against a good hockey game.  Playing together for a couple of games, the (Tavares line) chemistry is starting to click.  I was pleased with their effort…they did some good things offensively, and without the puck,” says Coach Capuano on the play of the team’s first line. (link)

Troy Brouwer comments on the need of a quick start to the game: “We need to get our home record better, with good starts to get our crowd into it early.” (link)

Quick Hitters:

  • The Capitals have just 3 first period goals in 7 homes games this season
  • Andrew MacDonald leads the league in blocked shots with 52
  • Kyle Okposo is tied for 3rd in the league with 13th assists
  • The Islanders are 86-84-13-10 against Washington all time
  • Matt Martin leads the league in hits (shocker) with 65 hits
  • Alex Ovechkin in his career has 31 points (19 goals) in 29 games against the Islanders

Projected Lineup…

26 Vanek – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo

12 Bailey – 51 Neilsen – 40 Grabner

96 Bouchard – 16 Regin – 15 Clutterbuck

17 Martin- 53 Cizikas – 29 Nelson

47 MacDonald – 3 Hamonic

7 Carkner – 14 Hickey

4 Martinek – 46 Donovan

20 Nabokov

60 Poulin

Scratches: 36 – Boulton

Injured: 13 – McDonald

Injured Reserve: 11 – Visnovsky, 37 – Strait

Please join us in the comment section below for in-game discussion and commentary.