The Washington Capitals are looking to get back on track and snap a four-game losing skid, and they’ll get a chance to do so when they take on the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Washington (20-8-4) currently sits third in the Metropolitan Division and three points out of first place, while New York (11-12-6) sits last. However, the Islanders have won their last three games.
The Capitals are currently working through a couple of absences in the lineup, and are also waiting to see if Alex Ovechkin will end up dressing on Long Island. Washington’s captain did make the trip and practiced on Friday, but he has been dealing with a lingering upper-body injury that held him out of practice on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Carl Hagelin and Dmitry Orlov remain on COVID-19 protocol and did not make the trip. Both also missed Monday’s tilt with Boston and will miss their second straight game, leaving the penalty kill without two key pieces.
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Here were Friday’s lines that Washington could see against New York:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny 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
Capitals goalies Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are both available. Head coach Peter Laviolette said Friday that the team decided on a starter, but did not announce who. Hunter Shepard is up the taxi squad.
When it comes to players to watch, keep an eye on Nicklas Backstrom for D.C. and Mat Barzal for Long Island. Backstrom has assists in three of four games this season and, despite the result against Boston, has been generating great pressure on the second line. Barzal, meanwhile, is red-hot and on a nine-game point streak, with 14 points over that span. Also watch out for Connor McMichael, who turns 21 on Saturday.
Puck drop is at 2 p.m. on the Island.