NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 24th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (5-2-2) at New York Islanders (1-4-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will shoot for a fourth consecutive victory when they visit the lowly New York Islanders for tonight's contest at Nassau Coliseum.
The Capitals began the season with back-to-back victories before losing four in a row. Washington has since regained its confidence with three straight wins, including its most recent victory Thursday night in Atlanta.
Jeff Schultz tallied three points and scored the go-ahead goal on an odd bounce as the Caps used three scores in an 88-second span during the second period to defeat their division rivals at Philips Arena.
Schultz scored midway through the middle stanza from behind Washington's blue line, as the puck bounced over the glove of Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at the other end of the ice. Alexandre Giroux, Chris Clark, Eric Fehr and Matt Bradley each added a goal for Washington.
Alex Ovechkin failed to record a point for only the second time this season in nine games and had scored four goals in his last two contests. Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves and added an assist on Schultz's goal in the win.
"It wasn't a textbook game, but I think both teams were really sloppy," said Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau. "Both teams got some pretty soft goals. It wasn't a very well-played hockey game."
The Caps played their last game without winger Alexander Semin, who is battling an illness. Semin, who is listed as questionable for tonight, has six goals and four assists in eight games this year.
Washington improved to 2-1-1 as the guest this year and is capping a brief two-game road trip tonight. New York is 1-2-1 as the host this year.
The Islanders, meanwhile, have just one win in eight games this year and are just 3-13-4 in their last 20 games dating back to last season.
New York picked up its first win of 2009-10 with Wednesday's shootout decision over visiting Carolina, but was slammed the following night in Montreal. Marc- Andre Bergeron registered a goal and an assist, as the Canadiens routed the Islanders, 5-1, at Bell Centre.
Josh Bailey had a short-handed marker for the Islanders, while Martin Biron made 38 saves in defeat.
"That's not the way we're going to win games," Biron said. "We've been priming ourselves on winning defensively and after some sound games it wasn't there tonight. We're going to have to tighten it up. It's a game that got away from us."
New York could be without captain Doug Weight again tonight after the veteran center sat out Thursday's game with flu-like symptoms. Weight, who has two assists in five games this year, is questionable for tonight's battle.
Washington won all four meetings with the Isles in 2008-09, but the clubs have split the last 10 games in the series overall. The Caps have taken two straight and three of four at the Coliseum, but New York has still come out on top in six of the last nine battles on Long Island.
10/24 10:35:58 ET