The New York Islanders are preparing for just about anything when they hit the ice tonight at the Nassau Coliseum when they host the Washington Capitals.
The last time around the Islanders scored a season-high eight goals and the two teams combined for 12 goals last Thursday. It was a rare occurrence for either team, especially for the Islanders who are averaging 2.34 goals against this season and are a team that is more likely to win a close game than a blowout.
The likelihood of that repeating tonight is not very high, but the Islanders are aware that anything is possible.
“We tend to try to be ready for anything,” Jordan Eberle said. “Most of the times we have success when we’re playing structured hockey, detailed hockey and winning by committee. But you have to be ready for anything and sometimes you have to be able to come back or score eight. You be ready for whatever the game throws at you and you find a way to win.”
📹 Eberle Pregame Availability 📹 pic.twitter.com/XjILXBglLb
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 6, 2021
New York and Washington’s fifth meeting of the year come as the two teams jockey for positioning in the East Division standings. As of now, the Islanders sit two points back of Washington for the division lead with Pittsburgh right behind the Isles in third.
That means tonight’s game carries even more weight as the New York Islanders try to hold off Pittsburgh and pull even with Washington at the same time.
“It’s a big game. I think this season playing the same teams so many times they’re all big games,” Josh Bailey said. “Then as the season goes on and you get down to the final stretch it’s exciting. It’s a fun time of year to be playing meaningful hockey games and I think against these guys we have a lot of respect for them and their team over there. Matched up against them quite a bit over the last couple of years, so we’re looking forward to try and find a way to come out with a good effort tonight.
“And hopefully, get the result we’re looking for.”
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz did not reveal much about his starting lineup when he spoke with reporters this morning. Ross Johnston will be a game-time decision and Michael Dal Colle will miss his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury.
Washington will start Vitek Vanecek in goal against New York. He came into last Thursday’s game for Ilya Samsonov briefly after he was run over by T.J. Oshie early in the game.
Jakub Vrana will be back in the Washington lineup after missing their last two games as a healthy scratch.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Ross Johnston — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Washington Capitals Lineup (Projected)
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana — Lars Eller — Daniel Sprong
Carl Hagelin — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Brenden Dillon — John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov — Justin Schultz
Zdeno Chara — Nick Jensen
The Islanders have outscored their opponents 71-38 at home. Their +33 goal differential on home ice ranks second in the league. … The Islanders have allowed 89 goals in 38 games, matching the fewest goals through 38 games in club history. … Josh Bailey is one point shy of his 500th career point in the NHL. … Washington is 12-5-2 on the road this season and they own the third-highest road point percentage in the NHL this season (.684). … Washington’s 3.42 road goals per game ranks second in the NHL. … Washington is 14-0-0 in games where they allow two or fewer goals.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air on MSG+ and stream on MSG Go or on NHL.TV outside of the New York market. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.