Washington Capitals (55-17-6, 116 points)
New York Islanders (43-26-9, 95 points)
Puck Drop 7 p.m. on CSN
The Washington Capitals come home after dropping two of three on the road trip: a 2-1 shootout loss to Philly, a 4-2 win in Colorado and a 3-0 shutout in Arizona. This week is a great look at how tough the playoffs will be no matter who they face.
A New York State of Mind
Another season, another year of the Rangers and Islanders both making the playoffs. The Islanders come into this game two points ahead of Philly for the 7th playoff spot and three points ahead of Boston, who has slipped outside the playoff picture after losing 7 of their last 10 and letting the Red Wings gain ground. They can also catch Tampa Bay to move up in the playoff rankings. This week is important for the Islanders to keep the pressure on while increasing their chances at a higher seed.
- The Islanders played at Barclays Center Vs. Tampa Bay Monday night before traveling to D.C. Dan Craig, an ice guru, was at Barclays Center after complaints by the players that the ice conditions have been terrible as of late.
- Center John Tavares leads the team with 30 goals while right winger Kyle Okposo has 39 assists.
- The Islanders have the leagues 2nd best penalty kill at 85.1%.
Braden Holtby would love nothing more than to tie Martin Brodeur’s regular season win record (48) at home Tuesday night. With four games remaining, Holtby has a realistic shot at breaking the mark. Will it be enough for the Vezina Trophy? (Note: The 2006-07 season where Brodeur set the regular season wins mark was a Vezina Trophy winning one.)
- Alexander Ovechkin was held off the scoring sheet Saturday. He stands at 45 goals with four games remaining so the chances of him grabbing a 50 goal season are running out.
- The Caps should find out by the end of this week who they will face in round 1. Right now, there’s the potential of playing Philly, Detroit, the Islanders or Boston.
Starting goaltenders look to be Braden Holtby (47-9-5, 2.17 GAA, .923 save percentage) against Jean-Francois Berube (3-2-1, 2.71 GAA, .914 save percentage) after Thomas Greiss plays Monday night. Jaroslav Halak is out another three weeks and won’t be available to the Islanders until at least April 20 (IF they are still in the playoffs by then.)
Holtby goes for win #48 and the Caps move into their final week of the season. Rock the Red!