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NEW YORK — It took a little longer than expected, but the Washington Capitals are right where most forecasters predicted.
Unfortunately for the New York Islanders, the same can be said for them.
A pair of Metropolitan Division contenders will face off Monday night when the Islanders host the Capitals at Barclays Center.
The Capitals earned their season-high fourth consecutive win Friday when they beat the visiting New York Rangers 4-2. The Islanders lost for the third straight game Saturday when they fell to the host Boston Bruins 3-1.
who went 5-6-1 in October but are 13-5-0 since to move into second place in the Metropolitan Division,The winning streak is the highlight of a six-week surge for the Capitals (18-11-1), two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets.
6-2., which earned the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best regular-season team each of the last two seasons,
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, is 8-2-0 since Nov. 16,
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, when it fell to the Colorado Avalanche
Defenseman Matt Niskanen told the Washington Post the loss to the Avalanche — who finished last in the NHL last season with 70 fewer points than Washington — served as the turning point for the Capitals,
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, who were once again expected to contend for the Stanley Cup this season.
rightfully so, like we are right now.”,
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, and guys stepped up,
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,“I think we got our butts chewed a little bit (after the game), playing hard for each other, started playing better,” Niskanen said. “Hockey’s a lot more fun when you’re playing well
The game hasn’t been as much fun lately for the Islanders (16-10-3), who went 1-1-2 on a four-game road trip to fall into a tie for the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots with the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York and Pittsburgh are just one point ahead of the ninth-place Rangers.
who missed the playoffs by one point last season and were projected by most to be in the wild-card mix this season,The Islanders, haven’t helped themselves lately by allowing the opponent to score the game’s first goal in each of the past five games.
Perhaps a return home will help the Islanders get back on track. New York is 8-1-2 at Barclays,
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,where it will play seven of the next eight games.
” Islanders coach Doug Weight said during the team’s postgame show Saturday night. “It’s going to be good to get home. I think we’ve had 18 or 19 on the road,
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,“Going to try to get the first goal one of these games,
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, so our numbers are good. Now we’ve got to get home and be homers for a while.”
had yet to announce a starter for Monday.,
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, No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby likely will make his third consecutive start. The Islanders,With the Capitals having enjoyed two days off, who have employed an almost even split of the goaltending duties between Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss
Holtby made 27 saves in the Friday win. He is 13-3-3 in 19 regular-season games against the Islanders.
is 2-1-1 in four regular-season appearances against Washington., when he recorded 30 saves. He is 8-8-0 in 16 regular-season games against the Capitals. Greiss,Halak made his second straight start Saturday, who made his most recent start Tuesday
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