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Islanders vs Capitals lineup updates: Don’t expect Oliver Wahlstrom to play

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders looks on during a time out in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders looks on during a time out in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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After a 1-0 shootout loss on Thursday, the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals face off against each other yet again on Saturday night.

With a relatively error-free game between both sides, coaches from both teams might be forgiven for keeping their respective lineups intact tonight. But it seems that both Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette could be making a few changes for tonight’s game

New York Islanders Lineup

According to Trotz he might make one change to the lineup tonight. While many fans will hope that Oliver Wahlstrom steps on the ice for the Islanders the likely switch will be Travis Zajac for one of Michael Dal Colle or Leo Komarov.

The veteran center was a notable healthy scratch on Thursday for the Islanders. And with both Dal Colle and Komarov having less than stellar games against the Capitals it makes sense that veteran steps in.

Again, I know that Wahlstrom should be the obvious choice. The shoot-first winger has been excellent for most of the season, specifically on the power play. His ability to constantly fire pucks on net is something the Islanders could certainly use.

But, he’s a rookie and rookies have a short leash in a Barry Trotz system and Wahlstrom hasn’t been playing particularly well of late.

On defense, I suspect Barry sticks with his usual six and that Varlamov gets the start.

Here’s how I expect the Isles to line up tonight:

Komarov-Barzal-Eberle
Zajac-Nelson-Palmieri
Beauvillier-Pageau-Bailey
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Pelech-Pulock
Leddy-Mayfield
Greene-Dobson

Varlamov (Sorokin)

Washington Capitals Lineup

One big change for the Washington Capitals tonight. It seems that Alex Ovechkin will not play tonight. Yesterday, the Capitals announced that their captain would be day-to-day with a lower-body injury but today at the morning skate, Ovechkin was no in his usual spot.

Now, to be fair, it was an optional skate. So Ovie could still be in the lineup tonight.

If you’re the Islanders, you’re breathing a sigh of relief knowing that Ovechkin might not skate. The Russian sniper is a constant goal threat even if he’s standing completely still. And with the Isles holding a 60% PK, not having to deal with Ovie is a big – big – bonus.

In net, the Caps will keep Ilya Samsonov who posted his second shutout of the season.

Sprong-Kuznetsov-Wilson
Mantha-Backstrom-Oshie
Sheary-Eller-Raffl
Hagelin-Dowd-Hathaway

Orlov-Carlson
Dillon-Van Riemsdyk
Chara-Jensen

Samsonov (Vanecek)

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