On Thursday, the league was told that four of the Washington Capitals top players would be out of the lineup for at least four games. That includes two games against the New York Islanders on January 26 and 28.
The four players out of the lineup are Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Ilya Samsonov.
All four broke the NHL’s COVID protocol. The Capitals were later fined $100,000 by the NHL for: “social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.”
New York Islanders big advantage against rival
Ovechkin would later kind of apologize for what he and his teammates did. Look the rule is silly considering these players are on the ice hugging and sitting close to each other on the bench all while not wearing a mask. But these rules exist for a reason.
With all four out of the lineup, the New York Islanders have a huge advantage to nab four points from a top divisional rival. The four absentees create sizeable gaps on the left wing (Ovechkin) and down the middle (Kuznetsov). It also takes out their number two defenseman (Orlov) and their starting goalie (Samsonov). That’s a gap at every single position.
Gaps that aren’t so easily filled.
Specifically in goal. One of Vitek Vanecek or 39-year-old Craig Anderson will step in for Samsonov who has had a shaky start to the season with a 1-0-1 record and a 3.36GAA and 0.868SV% average. And now, according to Samanta Pell of the Washington Post, he’s tested positive for COVID 19. He’ll be out for a while still.
(Hopefully, Samsonov recovers well and quickly and that none of the other players involved test positive or become ill.)
The Isles have two games versus the Devils before traveling to Washington to face the Caps. If the Islanders can make it to DC healthy* they’ll have a great chance at picking up two wins and a proverbial eight points in the standings.
*With Josh Bailey on the COVID protocol, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that the Isles aren’t immune to what’s going on around the league.
The Islanders are 4-4-0 against the Capitals since Barry Trotz took over behind the bench. So having the chance to nab two wins against a typically tough opponent will certainly be welcomed by the Isles.