NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 26th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (32-20-10) at New York Islanders (23-31-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Coming off their ninth shutout loss of the season, the Washington Capitals will try to find a little offense tonight in the opener of a home-and-home series against the hosting New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
The Capitals had won three of four prior to last night's meeting with the Rangers, but dropped a 6-0 decision. Washington has been held to two goals or less in seven of its last eight games and has posted just five goals in its last four contests.
Michal Neuvirth was touched for all six goals on 28 shots as the Capitals failed to make up ground in the playoff race, falling five points back of first-place Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division and remaining four behind Pittsburgh for the East's fourth seed.
"We have to make up for this [Saturday] and make up for this when we get back here," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "We have to show our fans that this is the abnormal, not the normal."
The Islanders could serve as a good team for the Caps to break out against. Washington has won four straight in this series and is 9-0-3 in the last 12. The Capitals have also taken five straight on Long Island, but New York has been able to keep Washington's offense in check this year, losing both 2010-11 meetings by a 2-1 score.
Washington will also be without defenseman Mike Green, who returned to the lineup last night after missing six of the previous seven with a ear injury. However, Green lasted just two shifts before exiting early following a high hit. He did not travel to New York and is day-to-day.
The Islanders continue to keep their playoff hopes alive, going 6-2-1 in their last nine games. They are still 13 points back of a playoff spot, but were able to earn a point in Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers.
Matt Martin's second goal of the game with 27.1 seconds left forced overtime, but Al Montoya was beaten at the 4:42 mark of overtime in New York's second straight loss. Montoya ended with 39 saves, while Frans Nielsen also scored.
Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano was still proud of how his team battled against one of the league's best.
"We were good tonight," Capuano told New York's website. "That was one of the best games we've played. It was exciting to be behind the bench as their coach tonight. I'm proud of the guys. Our defense played extremely well for a young bunch back there and they never quit."
Capuano's blue line was without both Radek Martinek (lower body) and Milan Jurcina (groin) and the they are doubtful for tonight, while forward Trevor Gillies will serve the eighth contest of his nine-game suspension.
New York will play six of its next seven at home, where it has won four of its last six to up its record at Nassau Coliseum to 12-14-4.
02/26 10:51:01 ET