Pregame 11/5: Islanders at Capitals

The Islanders begin a 4 game road trip tonight in our nation’s capital against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center that is now a divisional matchup as part of the Metropolitan Division. Last season the Islanders had a record of 2-0-1 against the Capitals. This is the first of 4 meetings between the teams, the first of 2 in Washington and 2 more at Nassau Coliseum later this season.

Last Time Out

Islanders (6-5-3; 15 points, 2nd Metropolitan): On Saturday they defeated the Bruins at home 3-1 with Kevin Poulin getting the start in goal and earning his first win of the season. This game also saw Thomas Vanek score his first goal as an Islander and also his first multi point game since the trade last week. The Islanders look to extend their winning streak to 3 games. Kyle Okposo (4G, 13A) and Frans Nielsen (8G, 8A), are among the league’s scoring leaders heading into this game.

Capitals (7-7-0; 14 points, 3rd Metropolitan): On Saturday they defeated the Panthers 3-2 at home in a shootout. After getting off to a slow start on the season, the Capitals got their record back to .500 for the season and moved up to 3rd place in the division. This was the first of a 3 game home stand for the Capitals.

Key Opposing Players

Forwards

Alexander Ovechkin

Nicklas Backstrom

Mikhail Grabovski

Defensemen

Mike Green

John Carlson

Goaltender

Braden Holtby

Islanders Key to Victory

The Capitals Alexander Ovechkin is off to a fast start this season despite missing the last two games with an upper body injury. On the year he has 10 goals and 5 assists for the first 15 games and he is currently 3rd in the league in scoring. Ovechkin is expected to return tonight for this game and the Islanders need to keep a close eye on him whether he is close to 100 percent or not.

In the last two games, everyone for the Islanders got involved in the scoring and contributed in all aspects of the game. That needs to continue against a tough Capitals team that the Islanders have had recent success against. Thomas Vanek looks more and more comfortable each game and that will only continue to improve. The defenseman have gotten involved in the scoring over the past 10 games as in each of those games at least a point has come from the Islanders defense.

Evgeni Nabokov should be back in goal tonight after getting Saturday night off and a few days off from game action might have been what he needed. He gave up 4 goals on Friday night in Ottawa but the offense picked him up. Consistency is something that will be needed from Nabokov if the Islanders strong play is going to continue and for him tonight could be a fresh start off a rough few outings last week.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG Plus and on the radio at 88.7 FM or 103.9 FM. 

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles