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)
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.
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.