After a win to end 2021 and two wins to kick off 2022, the New York Islanders (11-12-6) face the Washington Capitals (20-8-9) at UBS Arena on Saturday. Opening puck drop is slated for 2 PM ET.
The Islanders and the Capitals are trending in opposite directions right now.
The Washington Capitals have dropped their last four contests while the New York Islanders have picked up three straight wins and points in five straight contests (4-0-1). The home point streak is a game longer, with points in six straight on UBS Arena ice (5-0-1).
“Being at home is always an advantage,” Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck said. “The building is different, but the people are the same.”
The Islanders will be without Ross Johnston for this contest and the next two, as NHL Player safety handed him a three-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of New Jersey forward A.J. Greer in Thursday’s contest.
There was no morning skate for the Islanders on Saturday, but they were on the practice ice Friday morning.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Sebastian Aho missed the contest against New Jersey as both their wives gave birth Thursday. Pageau will be back in the lineup on Saturday, but there is no information regarding Aho coming back in.
“It was amazing. It was our first one, our little boy,” Pageau said on the birth of his son. “Everything went well, my wife is doing well, Tommy’s doing well. Just a great experience.”
“The boys finished it off well with a nice win which was a nice touch.”
Mat Barzal, who picked up the eventual game-winner on Thursday, enters Saturday’s contest with points in nine straight games (3G, 11A). With an assist on Adam Pelech’s first of the season Thursday, Kieffer Bellows will take the ice with a four-game point streak (2G, 3A).
Forward Josh Bailey (1G, 1A) and Zach Parise (2A) collected two points each in the win over New Jersey.
Saturday’s contest will be coached by Lane Lambert, as head coach Barry Trotz is still in COVID-19 protocol. This will be Lambert’s third-straight contest as the bench boss.
Washington will be without three players for the contest as forward Anthony Mantha is out indefinitely after undergoing shoulder surgery back on Nov. 5. Defenseman Dmitri Orlov and Carl Hagelin are in COVID-19 protocol.
Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin stated that he is willing to give Saturday’s contest a go after he missed Thursday’s practice with an upper-body injury.
The “Great 8” has been voted to represent the Metropolitan Division at the 2022 NHL ALL-Star Game.
“You have to go to the Vegas. It’s great stuff, you know? You’re going to see lots of great players out there and obviously, I’m going,” Ovechkin said. “You never know what’s going to happen, right?”
Ovechkin is a player that has haunted the Islanders over his career with 61 points in 62 career games (40 goals, 22 assists). 12 of the goals have come on the power play.
The Capitals’ power play has faired worse this season than the Islanders at just 14.6%. But still, Ovechkin is still a force from his office, with six goals and six assists on the man advantage.
“Don’t let him shoot from that spot,” Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert said regarding how to limit Ovechkin on the power play. “It’s (Washington) a tough power play to stop..and he doesn’t need much time to get one away.”
The Islanders were undisciplined in the win over the Devils On Thursday, as they awarded New Jersey five power-play chances. The Islanders penalty kill units killed off four of the five, with the fifth chance tying the contest in the third.
Following the contest in New York, Washington will host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday for the second of a back-to-back.
The Islanders will have an off day before a home and home with the Philadelphia Flyers, which kicks off Monday at UBS Arena.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS LINES (PROJECTED)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson— Oliver Wahlstrom
Kieffer Bellows— Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Zach Parise
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Scott Mayfield
Zdeno Chara— Noah Dobson
Robin Salo — Andy Greene
Washington Capitals (PROJECTED)
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeni Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie
Daniel Sprong— Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Connor McMichael— Lars Eller— Brett Leason
Martin Fehervary— John Carlson
Trevor Van Riemsdyk — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Justin Schultz
The New York Islanders host the Washington Capitals in their third matinee game at UBS Arena this season. This is the first of four meetings between the two teams, due to their matchup on December 23, 2021 being postponed.
These clubs played each other eight times last season, and the last time was on April 27, 2021, in Washington. Today, the Islanders look to build upon their five-game point streak, including three straight wins on home ice.
Despite the home winning streak, the New York Islanders are not favored to win this contest against the Washington Capitals. The Islanders come in at plus money (+112) with the Capitals at (-134). As the favorites, the Capitals get the -1.5 puck line, which is at +190. The Islanders are -240 at +1.5.
The over/under for this contest is set at 5.5 goals. Both come in at -110.
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HOW TO WATCH
The game will air on MSG+ (local) and on MSG GO as well as on NHL Network (national). On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.
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