Game Preview: NY Islanders vs. Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Last game

After being deadlocked at zero through 38 minutes of play, Casey Cizikas opened up the scoring for the NY Islanders on a short-handed goal with 1:38 remaining in the second period in their matchup with the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. Brock Nelson extended the lead shortly after the third period began, but it was all downhill from there for the Isles. The Wings scored three goals in a span of 3:48, taking their first lead of the night. Bo Horvat nodded things up once again, blowing a shot past Ville Husso on the power play to send the game to overtime. Sloppy play in their own end led to a 2-on-1 for the Wings in the extra period, with Lucas Raymond netting the game-winner. 

It wasn’t the most promising start for the Washington Capitals who trailed the winless San Jose Sharks by a goal heading into the third period Sunday night. Saving their best efforts of the night for the final frame, the Caps peppered goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood with 17 shots, beating the former Devils netminder three times. Dylan Strome, Tom Wilson, and Evgeny Kuznetsov each tallied goals, and Alex Ovechkin recorded two assists. The victory was the Capitals' third straight,


The Islanders are slightly under NHL .500 against their division rivals, holding a record of 103-105-13-17 all-time. The Isles recorded just three points against the Caps last season, winning once and earning another point in an OT loss. Facing off against one another twice in the final seven games of the season, the Isles earned their first shootout victory of the season against the Caps. Scoring just once all season in the skills competition in their first five attempts, Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri were both able to beat Darcy Kuemper, earning a big two points in the Isles' push towards the playoffs.

Eleven days later, the Isles again visited the nation's capital, falling by a score of 5-2 in game 81. The loss required some help for the Islanders to reach the playoffs, which they received when the Chicago Blackhawks upset the Pittsburgh Penguins the following night.


Appearing in just two games this season, Semyon Varlamov has been brilliant while spelling Ilya Sorokin, allowing just three goals on 76 shots. First off the ice at practice yesterday morning, Varlamov appears to have the crease tonight. Varly's shutout on Saturday night at the Columbus Blue Jackets was his 14th with the Islanders, moving him into fifth in franchise history, tied with Tommy Salo. The Isles are allowing 34.8 shots per game this season - way above a number Head Coach Lane Lambert feels comfortable with. With Varlamov playing well, it entitles Ilya Sorokin to some much-needed rest after the barrage of rubber he's been facing.

With the news that Nicklas Backstrom is stepping away from the game, Dylan Strome solidifies himself as one of the Caps' top 6 centers for the remainder of the season. Coming off career highs in goals (23), assists (42), and points (65), Strome is off to a torrid start, potting six goals through eight games.



Anders Lee- Bo Horvat- Mat Barzal
Pierre Engvall- Brock Nelson- Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom- JG Pageau- Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech- Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov- Ryan Pulock
Samuel Bolduc- Sebastian Aho

Semyon Varlamov
Ilya Sorokin


Alex Ovechkin- Dylan Strome- Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha- Evgeny Kuznetsov- TJ Oshie
Sonny Milano- Connor McMichael- Matthew Phillips
Beck Malenstyn- Hendrix Lapierre- Aliaksei Protas

Martin Fehervary- Josh Carlson
Rasmus Sandin- Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Hardy Haman Aktell- Nick Jensen

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren