The New York Islanders nine games down the stretch are all going to have a playoff feel. Currently, in the middle of a three-game set with the Washington Capitals, that statement has never rung more true.
The Islanders and their Washington D.C. visitors will square off for the second of three meetings tonight when the puck drops at the Nassau Coliseum. The meeting comes with the season winding down and the Islanders fighting for playoff positioning.
The New York Islanders enter the game in third place in the division after the Pittsburgh Penguins leapfrogged both them and Washington with a win this afternoon over New Jersey.
New York and Washington battled to a 1-0 shootout loss on Thursday night in a game that saw the Islanders start out strong before Washington pushed back in the second and third.
🎥 Trotz Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/9u4ysh2Cig
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 24, 2021
“It was a good game,” Brock Nelson said. “I thought both teams played pretty well, pretty solid. Didn’t give up a whole lot. Goaltenders made some saves when they needed to. Special teams, power-play probably would have probably liked to get something on the board. Penalty kill did a good job blocking shots. This time of year that’s what you expect.”
While the Islanders’ power play couldn’t convert on the two opportunities it was presented in the third period on Thursday, New York’s penalty kill was as strong as ever against one of the league’s best power-play units.
Washington was held to two shots on three power-play chances.
“We were prepared for a lot of the things that they do,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “The great thing about the Caps power play — and I’ve had the privilege of standing behind that bench — is that there are so many weapons. Some nights you can get in that lane and get that save. Get that block, the puck bounces a little bit and they’re not able to execute.
“A little bit of everything. Lots of preparation, lots of commitment.”
Trotz hinted that there could be a minor roster change for the Islanders tonight. He did not elaborate further, only saying that everyone was healthy and available.
Travis Zajac is expected to be the one player that gets back into the Islanders lineup and not rookie Oliver Wahlstrom, who would be a scratch for the second consecutive game. Trotz did not reveal who would be in net for his team
Ilya Samsonov will get the nod for Washington and Alex Ovechkin is expected to be a game-time decision. He left Thursday’s game early and is said to be dealing with a lower-body injury.
New York Islanders Lines (Projected)
Mathew Barzal — Travis Zajac — Jordan Eberle
Michael Dal Colle — Brock Nelson — Kyle Palmieri
Anthony Beauvillier — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Josh Bailey
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Washington Capitals Lineup (Projected)
Daniel Sprong — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary — Lars Eller — Michael Raffl
Carl Hagelin — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov — John Carlson
Brenden Dillon — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Zdeno Chara — Nick Jensen
The Islanders’ penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 on Thursday against Washington. New York has killed 23 of the last 24 penalties that they’ve faced and have an 82.9 percent success rate on the penalty kill this season. … Tonight wraps up a three-game homestand for the Islanders. Their next two games will be on the road with stops in Washington and Manhattan. … The Islanders have allowed 106 goals — including one shootout winner — through 47 games. That is the fewest goals through 47 games in club history. … Washington defenseman and former Islander Zdeno Chara will appear in his 1,600th NHL game tonight. Chara will be the fifth defenseman in league history to reach the milestone, joining Chris Chelios (1,651), Scott Stevens (1,635), Larry Murphy (1,615) and Ray Bourque (1,612). … Ilya Samsonov recorded his second shutout of the season on Thursday against the Islanders in a 1-0 shootout win. He became the first goaltender in Washington history to record a shutout in a shootout win. … Alex Ovechkin is two goals shy of passing Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game airs locally on MSG+ and can be streamed on MSGGo or NHL.tv. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.