Down to the Wire: Isles face Caps
The Islanders take to the Verizon Center tonight to face the not so hot Capitals. The Capitals have been going through a series of serious ups and downs this season and right now, they are on a down. Since firing coach Bruce Boudreau, the Caps have not changed much. Still out of a playoff spot, the Caps seek two points against the Isles, who we all know are still seeking the playoff spot as well.
The Capitals are also in a goalie scramble, mainly switching between Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth. Both have not had fantastic seasons at all. It’s going to be tough for a team who doesn’t know who their starting goaltender is to make the playoffs, or at least be in it for the long run.
The Caps offense, like the rest of the team, hasn’t been playing up to Washington Capital standard. Captain Alexander Ovechkin seems completely out of sorts and no one seems to know what is wrong with Nicklas Backstrom, whom they placed on long-term injury reserved recently.
Now the Islanders were in a similar boat in the goaltender category, but it has looked to shape itself in the past few months. With Nabokov not being moved yesterday at the trade deadline, it’s easy to see that he is the Isles’ number one for the rest of the season.
With the Islanders moving Rolston and Mottau to the Bruins yesterday, more ice time for Nino Niederreiter should come about. In my opinion, this is excellent for Niederreiter, who has has not lived up to his expectations. But let’s face it, he’s 19 years old and he was playing with veterans who couldn’t put the puck in the net themselves.
I think tonight’s game is going to be a great matchup. The last time these two teams met, the Isles shut them out 3-0. It will be interesting to see which team has the most motivation tonight. Both teams need this game desperately.