NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals is stood up by Travis Hamonic #3 of the New York Islanders during the third period at the Barclays Center on December 13, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Back to Hockey: Islanders Return To Battle Capitals

 Washington Capitals (33-10-6) @ New York Islanders (21-17-9)

When: Tuesday, January 31, 2107
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Time: 7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+ (Brendan Burke, Butch Goring)
Radio: AM 970, WRHU 88.7 FM and WRCN 103.9 FM (Chris King, Greg Picker)

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Believe it or not, the Islanders still play hockey, and they still play it in Brooklyn. Despite what you have heard from Bloomberg, (and us), nothing is imminent, and the Isles are still in the fight of their lives for a playoff spot.

READ: Are The Islanders Preparing For Another Move?

The Isles begin play this evening just five points behind the Flyers for the final Wild Card spot, with three games in hand. The Islanders come in red-hot having recorded points in their last six games. Things won’t be easy though, as the Capitals are the NHL’s best team.

Despite the short break for the All-Star festivities, the Islanders are still without a few key members of the team. Travis Hamonic, Cal Clutterbuck, and Thomas Hickey will not dress for this evening’s game. Instead, Shane Prince will get back into the lineup.

Clutterbuck and Hickey both skated on Tuesday morning, but Interim Coach Doug Weight said the team wants to make sure they’re 100% healthy before declaring them game-ready.

“These guys are looking pretty good, feeling pretty good, but just want to make sure we’re diligent about it to get them back healthy.”

The Washington Capitals won four of their last five, and are 12-1-1 in the month of January. The last time these two teams met was December 27th, when the Isles secured a 4-3 victory Braden Holtby and friends. Andrew Ladd scored twice, with Alan Quine and Thomas Hickey adding two assists a piece.

In net for the Islanders will once again be Thomas Greiss. It will be his first game since signing his three-year contract extension. Since Holtby played in the All-Star Game, Philip Grubauer gets the start between the pipes for Washington. Grubauer is 9-2-2 this season with a 2.13 GAA and a .924 SV%. So, it’s not like the Isles are getting a terrible backup.

For the Isles, there are several players riding hot streaks to coincide with the team’s good fortunes. John Tavares has scored eight goals since January 13th. That is the most in the NHL during that span.  He has 13 points in his last eight games.

In the net, Thomas Greiss is 11-3-3 in his last 17, and is currently riding a three game point steak (3-0-1), since Jan. 13 Greiss leads in NHL in saves made with 219.
Josh Bailey has eight points (3G, 5A) in his last eight games. That can absolutely be attributed to being on Tavares’ line. Jason Chimera has six points (5G, 1A) in his last eight games. Nikolay Kulemin has five points (3G, 2A) in his last six games. Nick Leddy has 11 points (3G, 8A) in his last eight games. Anders Lee has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last six games.
The Capitals are also coming in hot on offense. They have earned a point in 11 of their last 13 games against the Islanders (8-2-3) and in seven of their last eight road games against New York (5-1-2). Nicklas Backstrom has recorded 33 points (9g, 24a) in 35 career games against the Islanders, including 12 points in his last 12 games against New York (3g, 9a). T.J. Oshie has earned 18 points (6g, 12a) in 16 career games against the Islanders. Evgeny Kuznetsov has earned 18 points in his last 13 games (6g, 12a) and 28 points in his last 26 games (6g, 22a). Not to be outdone, Alex Ovechkin is a certified Islander killer. He has tallied 49 points (33g, 16a) in 45 career games against the Islanders, including 14 points (11g, 3a) in his last 13 games against New York.
It would not be a surprise to see another seven or eight goals combined this evening.
Eric Bordin

About Eric Bordin

Eric is currently a resident of Jupiter, FL. He is a Leasing Consultant at an apartment in community in beautiful Abacoa, FL. He grew up in Old Bethpage, NY and has been a die-hard Islanders fan his whole life. My other sports loves are the Yankees, Cowboys & Lakers. Eric is a Senior Writer and Editor for Islanders insight, and runs the Facebook page as well. You will find many articles on the site written by him. He has several years experience in the sports and news business; including ESPN, CNN, CNN/SI, Fox Sports & CNN Headline News.

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