After the New York Islanders lost two of three on a late-November West Coast swing to reach this season’s nadir (so far), some expected a firing or trade was imminent.
Nothing happened, the Islanders won their next game via overtime over the Flames, and then reeled off wins in four of five against actually decent opponents.
The Washington Capitals were one of those victims, thanks to a Jaroslav Halak shutout in a 3-0 win in D.C. Despite the uptick in Isles play and results, a Saturday setback in Columbus has them still one point above the Eastern Conference floor and 10 points behind the Capitals, who have won four in a row, for the final wild card spot.
The East is kind of crazy like that: The top half of playoff position teams is separated by seven points from the bottom eight, who themselves are separated by a mere four points, from Buffalo’s 26 to New Jersey’s 30.
Escape is surely not imminent. But they’ll still play the games, thus so will we: One game at a time, and all that.
Halak will start again in goal. He was in goal for the loss in Columbus but that was not exactly his fault as things spun out of control.
Looks like Thomas Greiss will back up, as Jean-Francois Berube is surely exhausted from his six-minute, one-shot appearance in relief Saturday for his first game action of the season.
Anthony Beauvillier slots back into the lineup for Alan Quine, and it appears he’ll take Quine’s spot between Andrew Ladd and Ryan Prince, a combo that appeared stable and functional.
Of note, Scott Mayfield was returned to Bridgeport. He had been up on emergency conditions after the flu bug hit the team.
The Capitals will start Braden Holtby in goal and healthy scratch Burakowsky.
How to Watch
TV coverage is on MSG+, radio on 660AM, 101.9FM - WFAN, and 88.7FM - WRHU.
For Capitals coverage check Japers’ Rink, where you can read about the status of their defensive pair shuffling after Dmitry Orlov wore the collar of shame on two of the Islanders’ goals in the last meeting.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time, which is 7 p.m. EST.