Islanders Look to Rebound Against Washington Capitals
The last time the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals met, the Capitals managed to make a miraculous comeback against the Isles in the last three and a half minutes of the third period. The Islanders, who had staked themselves to a 2-0 lead seemed to be well on their way to earning two points on the road, but Troy Brouwer put the Capitals on his back as he scored the home team's first goal and the equalizing goal within a span of minutes. Brouwer's efforts weren't for naught as Alex Ovechkin sealed the Isles' fate by scoring the game winning goal in overtime and sent the road team packing with only one point. (Clydeorama/Flickr)
Ever since that meeting, both teams have traveled down separate roads. The Islanders looked poised to make a run at the 8th and final playoff spot and the Capitals were on the outside of the playoff bubble for the first time in a long time. Even though the Capitals lost their next two games via shutout, the team has gained points in four straight games and holds a modest 3 game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Islanders have been the victims of a cruel fate for the last two games and have all but eliminated themselves from any possible run at an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Islanders' two most recent losses (to the Devils and Rangers) were absolute heartbreakers. The Devils scored twice within a span of 14 seconds to deny the Islanders a point for a solid effort on Saturday night and Marian Gaborik made sure that the Isles would leave MSG with only one point as he potted the game winning goal with 5 seconds left in overtime on Sunday. If the loss against the Devils wasn't a bitter pill to swallow, then Gaborik's game-winner definitely helped the weekend's shortcomings hit home.
With 13 games left to play, the Islanders find themselves 10 points back of the Capitals for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Islanders aren't mathematically eliminated yet and the team must do whatever it takes to shrug off these two devastating losses and finish the season in a strong fashion. If anything, the Islanders can find some consolation in the fact that they can play the role of a spoiler for those teams that are on the cusp of a playoff berth. All in all, the Islanders cannot afford to keep sulking over these last two defeats and must hold their heads up high and play for better results.
Untimely penalties burned the Islanders in their losses to the Devils and Rangers as both teams scored the game-winning goals on the power-play. In addition to being extremely undisciplined at crucial points of these contests, the Islanders were severely outshot by the competition. The Devils managed to outshoot the Islanders by 11 shots (35-24) and the Rangers followed up that effort by only allowing the Isles 19 shots on goal while they peppered Evgeni Nabokov with 36.
The Islanders must remained disciplined and get more shots on net as a desperate Washington team won't just allow the Isles to run the table once the puck drops tonight. The Isles' top line has gotten it going in the last two games, but the lack of secondary scoring continues to be a problem that has plagued the Islanders on a season-long basis. The second and third lines must find a way to get the Islanders on the score-sheet as the John Tavares line can only get the job done so often. Even though making the playoffs was the goal the team wanted to accomplish at the start of the season, the Islanders must finish the season with an exclamation point and make sure that there is a positive carryover effect for next season.
P.A Parenteau is out of the lineup for Tuesday's matchup because of an upper-body injury. Evgeni Nabokov will start in net for the Islanders and will probably be opposed by Tomas Vokoun at the opposite end of the ice.