Expert Cappers Picks
National Hockey League
Preview
NY Islanders at Washington
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 18, 2019
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, District of Columbia

All eyes will be on coach Barry Trotz when his red-hot New York Islanders visit the struggling Washington Capitals on Friday. Trotz, who returns to Capitol One Arena for the first time since leading Washington to its first Stanley Cup championship last spring and leaving the club two weeks later over financial differences, has New York near the top of the Metropolitan Division with a much-improved defense.

“You can’t say enough about Barry and the impact that he had as the head coach,'' Capitals first-year coach Todd Reirden told the Washington Post. "I wouldn’t be here in this organization if it wasn’t for Barry, so I have a ton of respect for him. But that being said, we would really like to use that as a time to respond to our little rough patch here and make sure that we’re ready to finish the final four games the right way here before the All-Star break, so it’s an important game for us.” The Capitals have lost three straight following a 7-2 beatdown at Nashville on Tuesday - a streak coinciding with the absence of Braden Holtby. Washington's No. 1 goaltender, however, was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and is expected to start in what would be his first appearance since leaving Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to Columbus after Cam Atkinson's stick struck him in the left eye. The Islanders moved into sole possession of third place in the Metropolitan - one point behind Columbus and Washington - after their 10th victory in 12 games, a 4-1 win over New Jersey on Thursday that was powered by two goals from captain Anders Lee.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet East, MSG Plus (New York), NBCS Washington

ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (27-15-4): Michael Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft, scored his first NHL goal Thursday in his 10th game. Mathew Barzal, the team's only All-Star representative, has registered a club-leading 43 points, including a goal and four assists in his last five games, while Lee's 18 tallies pace the team. Defenseman Nick Leddy has notched half of his 16 points this season - all assists - in his last 10 contests after collecting two on Thursday and owns a plus-1 rating after finishing minus-42 last season.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (27-14-5): Captain Alex Ovechkin (league-high 33 goals this season) has collected three goals and two assists during his four-game point streak while his 640 career tallies are 50 shy of Mario Lemieux, who ranks 10th on the all-time list. Nicklas Backstrom, whose 46 points are six behind team-leader Ovechkin, has notched only two points - both goals - in six games this month. Defenseman John Carlson, who along with Holtby will represent Washington on the Metropolitan Division All-Star team, has recorded four of his 43 points in the last five contests and possesses a plus-21 rating.

OVERTIME

1. New York owns the stingiest defense in the league at 2.52 goals allowed per game after yielding an NHL-high 3.57 last season.

2. The Islanders are 12-for-12 on the penalty kill in their last four contests.

3. Washington posted its third straight win in the all-time series on Nov. 26, a 4-1 triumph in the first of four meetings this season thanks to a pair of goals by RW Tom Wilson and 32 saves from Holtby, who is 15-4-3 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .922 save percentage against the Islanders.

PREDICTION: Capitals 3, Islanders 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
NY Islanders 27-15-1-3 W3 13-7-1-2 14-8-0-1 4-2-0-0 23-13-1-3 12-5-0-1
Washington 27-14-4-1 L3 13-7-2-1 14-7-2-0 4-3-0-0 23-11-4-1 9-3-2-0
Last Meeting
NY Islanders Washington
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
11/26/18 WAS 4 NYI 1 33 20 0-4 24 32 1-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
NY Islanders V. Filppula 1
Washington N. Backstrom 3
Goals Player  
NY Islanders V. Filppula 1
Washington T. Wilson 2
Assists Player  
NY Islanders L. Komarov 1
Washington N. Backstrom 3
Saves Player  
NY Islanders T. Greiss 20
Washington B. Holtby 32
Season
Total Points Player  
NY Islanders M. Barzal 51
Washington A. Ovechkin 58
Goals Player  
NY Islanders A. Lee 22
Washington A. Ovechkin 37
Assists Player  
NY Islanders M. Barzal 38
Washington J. Carlson 39
Saves Player  
NY Islanders R. Lehner 730
Washington B. Holtby 946
Quickchart Matchup
NY Islanders Off vs  Washington Def
3 GF
3 GA
28.2 Shots
32.2 Shots
23 PP
36 PK
Washington Off vs  NY Islanders Def
3.35 GF
2.52 GA
29.5 Shots
30.8 Shots
30 PP
28 PK