NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 5th
(All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (34-30-13) at New York Islanders (31-35-10), 5 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals have done serious damage to
their playoff chances during a five-game losing streak, but the club hopes to
end the costly slide when it visits the New York Islanders for Saturday's
clash at Nassau Coliseum.
The Capitals are 0-3-2 over their last five games and dropped an important
test in regulation on Friday. Washington lost 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils at
the start of a four-game road trip, as Ryan Carter scored the game-winner for
the home team with 4:54 remaining in the third period.
With the win, New Jersey leapfrogged Washington in the East standings and
moved within three points of Columbus for the second wild-card spot. The Caps,
meanwhile, are a point back of the Devils and four behind Columbus with five
games left in the regular season.
"It's obviously difficult to swallow a loss," Washington head coach Adam Oates
said. "We played a good game, good hockey game. We only gave them two goals. A
lot of good things in the game."
Washington lost Friday despite a 29-save effort from Jaroslav Halak. Alex
Ovechkin supplied his 49th goal of the season for the Capitals. Another tally
would give Ovechkin his fifth season of 50 goals or more.
On Saturday, the Capitals are facing a team that has been eliminated from
postseason contention, but the Islanders have played well recently in their
spoiler role. New York has won three straight and five of its last six games
and is coming off Wednesday's 2-1 regulation win in Ottawa.
Casey Cizikas scored the game-winning goal on a power play in the third period
to help the Isles edge the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. Josh Bailey
scored his eighth of the season and added an assist while Ryan Strome had two
Anders Nilsson made 35 saves for the Islanders, who have won three straight
for the first time since a season-best four-game winning streak from Jan.
"It was a good road win. It wasn't our best game we've had in a little while,
but everyone bared down when it mattered, we had some timely saves and found a
way to get a power-play goal late," said Bailey.
New York has six games left in the regular season, but only two of them will
come at home. The Islanders are just 13-18-8 on Long Island this season
compared to an 18-17-2 road mark.
The Isles halted a three-game losing streak in this series with a 1-0 road win
over the Capitals on Feb. 4. Andrew MacDonald, who has since been traded to
Philadelphia, scored the game's only goal early in the third period to give
New York a 3-1-2 record in its last six games against Washington.
The Caps have won two of three and eight of the past 10 meetings at the
Washington is 14-17-7 as the visiting team and will complete this road trip
with stops in St. Louis and Carolina before closing the regular season on a
04/05 10:31:47 ET