The NY Islanders are getting set to host the Washington Capitals at UBS Arena for the second and final time this regular season.
Both the Islanders and Penguins had plenty of momentum heading into Tuesday night's duel at PPG Paints Arena. After Anders Lee got the scoring started early in the first, the Pens would answer with two of their own, one from Jake Guenztel and one from Jason Zucker, to enter the first intermission with a 2-1 advantage. In the second, Pittsburgh would double its lead as Josh Archibald tipped home his first goal since November 25th. In the previous three meetings of the season series, the Isles had outscored the Penguins in the third period 6-0. Sure enough, New York would add to that total, getting two goals in the final six minutes off the sticks of Hudson Fasching and Anders Lee, who netted his second of the game. Then in overtime, Brock Nelson found himself behind the defense and was able to beat Tristan Jarry, giving the Islanders the 4-3 win. Ilya Sorokin made 33 saves in the victory, while also tallying an assist on the game winning goal.
The Capitals also found themselves playing for longer than 60 minutes on Tuesday night. Washington got goals from Trevor van Riemsdyk and Dylan Strome with the New Jersey Devils getting goals from Erik Haula and Dawson Mercer. The game was all tied up at two heading into the third. It would stay that way up until it was time for a shootout. Each team failed to put anything behind the two goaltenders in the first three rounds and then Timo Meier finally beat Darcy Kuemper to complete the 3-2 Devils win. The 32 year old net minder made 38 saves and went 3/4 in the shootout.
The talk recently for the Islanders has been all about their dominant play in the third period. Well, the last time they played the Capitals, in the first and only meeting so far this season, it was New York who failed to hold a 3-0 lead, as the Caps came all the way back to win it 4-3 in overtime on January 16th at UBS Arena.
The two teams have met eight times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Isles winning the series 6/8 times. All-time, the Islanders are 102-103-13-17 against the Caps.
Players to Watch
Since the Mat Barzal injury, the Islanders are 6-1-1. There are a multitude of players who have stepped up nicely, but specifically on the first line, Anders Lee has really turned it up a notch. Including this two goal performance on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the Isles' captain has four goals in his last three games. New York will need him to continue to stay hot in order to pick up yet another much needed win.
After trading away guys like Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway, the Caps have been looking for some of their young players to take that next step. Dylan Strome is someone who fits that role. The 26 year old has seven points in his last five games as he tries to do all he can to help his team get back into the playoff race before it's too late. A big performance will be needed in what has become a must win game for Washington.
Anders Lee-Bo Horvat-Pierre Engvall
Zach Parise-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Hudson Fasching
Simon Holmstrom-Otto Koivula-Josh Bailey
Adam Pelech-Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov-Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho-Noah Dobson
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha-Nicklas Backstrom-Craig Smith
Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-TJ Oshie
Conor Sheary-Nic Dowd-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Rasmus Sandin-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Alexander Alexeyev-Vincent Iorio
Matt Irwin-Gabriel Carlsson
Lineups via DailyFaceoff