NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 16th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (18-10-3) at New York Islanders (10-18-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will shoot for their fourth consecutive victory when they visit the lowly New York Islanders for tonight's battle at Nassau Coliseum.
The Capitals have outscored the opposition 10-3 during their three-game winning streak and have been victorious in five of their last six games overall.
Washington is leading the Southeast Division with 39 points and is eight ahead of both Carolina and Florida.
The club posted its latest victory this past Saturday in Montreal. Michael Nylander scored to break a tie with 2:32 left in the third period and the Caps held on to edge the Canadiens, 2-1, at the Bell Centre.
Nylander snapped a 27-game scoreless drought with his last goal coming on October 16 in a 4-3 win at Pittsburgh. Nicklas Backstrom also tallied for Washington and Alex Ovechkin added an assist to extend his point streak to four games.
Simeon Varlamov, who was making his NHL debut in goal for the Capitals, was sensational, stopping 32-of-33 shots. The 20-year-old Varlamov was recalled from Washington's AHL affiliate in Hershey after Jose Theodore suffered a hip flexor in practice on Friday.
Varlamov was then penciled in as the starter on Saturday to give Brent Johnson time to rest a sore hip. Johnson is expected to get the start tonight and Varlamov will serve in a backup role.
Washington, which is just 6-9-2 as the visiting team this year, is playing the second of two straight on the road.
The Islanders, meanwhile, will try to avoid a seventh straight setback when they take the ice this evening. In addition to losing six in a row, New York has also dropped eight of its last nine tilts. The Isles are tied for last in the Eastern Conference with just 22 points on the year.
After getting destroyed by Pittsburgh, 9-2, on Thursday, the Islanders were handed Saturday's 3-1 loss in Columbus. Jason Chimera's tally with 1:54 remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner for the Blue Jackets.
Richard Park netted a short-handed goal for the Islanders, who have posted just nine goals during their six-game slide. Joey MacDonald was beaten three times on 35 shots in the loss.
Saturday's setback against the Jackets ended a four-game road trip for the Isles, but the team is only home for one game before heading back out on a two-game swing. New York is just 5-8-1 as the host this year.
Washington posted a 5-2 victory over the visiting Isles in the first of four meetings between the clubs on December 4, but New York has still taken five of the last seven encounters. The Caps have also been defeated in six of their last seven stops at the Coliseum.
12/16 10:36:18 ET