Washington Capitals (27-8-5) vs New York Islanders (24-10-3)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||17-6-4||2.95 / .904 / 0|
|New York Islanders||Semyon Varlamov||13-3-3||2.40 / .920 / 1|
There’s no better way to round out the year with some matinee hockey, eh? The Washington Capitals are slated to take on former head coach Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders for one last game before we ring in 2020. The Capitals defeated the Islanders by a score of 2-1 back on October 4th, and are 11-6-1 in their last 18 meetings, dating back to 2016.
The Washington Capitals lost to the Carolina Hurricanes back on Saturday, in a 6-4 defeat that included an Alex Ovechkin power play goal, and a less-than-healthy lineup. Washington played without power forward Tom Wilson, and defenseman Michal Kempny for a second straight game. Per head coach Todd Reirden, they were not the only two players fighting off illness and injury. Washington was called for back-to-back penalties, giving the Canes an abbreviated 5-on-3 opportunity (Boyd, holding the stick)(Jensen, tripping). Lucas Wallmark started the scoring with his 8th goal of the season on the Canes power play, at the 10:38 mark of the first period. The Capitals received their first power play just before the game was 12 minutes old, as Tuevo Teravainen went off for hooking, but they did not convert. Christian Djoos, who had been recalled from the Hershey Bears to ust eight seconds into the second period, Warren Foegele improved the Canes lead to 2-0, but Nic Dowd cut their lead in half with his 4th goal of the season. Petr Mrazek, who historically hasn’t been great against Washington, was awfully good this time. Dougie Hamilton re-established Carolina’s lead not even two minutes later. With Jordan Staal in the penalty box for kneeing, Alex Ovechkin tallied his 24th goal of the season, passing Teemu Selanne in all-time power play goals (256). Washington received a second consecutive power play, as former St. Louis Blue Joel Edmundson was called for tripping, but Warren Foegele would ultimately score short-handed, giving the Canes a 4-2 lead. Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Capitals hope with his 13th goal of the season, a power play goal, just two minutes into the final frame, but 1:20 later, Martin Necas would wipe any sense of optimism right off the board. Washington elected to pull goaltender Braden Holtby with just under five minutes remaining in the game, but Andrei Svechnikov would seal Carolina’s win with an empty-net goal. Richard Panik, with his 4th of the year, would reduce the damage by one, giving the Caps four goals on the board prior to the expiration of the match. In his worst appearance this season, Braden Holtby allowed five goals on 28 shots, not including the Canes final empty-net goal. Holtby is expected to start for the Capitals.
On Sunday, the New York Islanders defeated the Minnesota Wild, 3-1. The Islanders are 5-4-1 in their last 10, and have actually dropped four of their last six matches. Ryan Donato scored the only goal of the first and second period, 15 minutes and 43 seconds into the first period, giving Minnesota a one-goal lead. However, three goals from the Isles in the third gave them their 24th win of the season. Neither the Islanders nor the Wild converted on their respective power plays. Interestingly, the Islanders allow with 12th most power play goals against on home ice, in the entire league (11 PPGA, T-12). Compared to Washington’s power play, which scores the 3rd most goals when on the road, if the Capitals receive a power play, they need to deliver (16 PPG, T-3rd)(ESPN). Better off than the Caps, but still among the top offenders, the Islanders rank 9th in most penalty minutes per game, and seven players on the roster have 20 or more penalty minutes. At the 4:24 mark of the third period, Ryan Pulock scored his 6th of the season, tying the Isles and Wild with one goal each. Just beyond the six-minute mark, did Matt Martin score the ultimate game-winner, and his 3rd of the season. Tom Kuhnhackl sealed the win with his first goal of the season with just over two and a half minutes remaining. Mat Barzal leads his team with 16 goals and 16 assists (32 points), though Brock Nelson isn’t very far behind (13G, 15A, 28 points). Former Avalanche/Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov ended his night with a .962 save percentage, having allowed just one goal on 26 shots. Varlamov is expected to get the start for the Islanders.
The Islanders will be without the services of Cal Clutterbuck, who suffered a wrist injury in practice a few days ago. Tom Wilson, Michal Kempny, and Christian Djoos are still listed as day-to-day, and we will update as we learn more from the team.
Coverage of the game begins at 12:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 12:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 1:00pm.
ESPN. (2019). 2019-20 NHL Hockey Stats and League Leaders- Special Teams. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nhl/statistics/team/_/stat/special-teams/sort/powerPlayGoals/split/34.
Mcubed. (2019). NHL: Series records: Washington Capitals against New York Islanders. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/wsh/nyi.shtml.
TheScore. (2019). New York Islanders at Minnesota Wild. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22331.
TheScore. (2019). New York Islanders News and Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/7.