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NHL on NBCSN: Islanders look to pull Capitals into their nightmare

Feb 4, 2014, 8:44 AM EST

Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, skates next to New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the first period an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) AP

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the New York Islanders at the Verizon Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

These are dark days for the Islanders. The forward momentum their franchise gained from finally making the playoffs last year seems to have been squandered. Their 10-3-0 run certainly has been over the course of their five game losing streak.

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It looks like teams will require around 90 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. If that’s the case then the Islanders need to get 40 points in their final 25 games, which obviously translates to a 20-5-0 record. Even if you assume that they won’t lose another game in regulation all season, the Islanders would still need to win a minimum of 17 contests.

So realistically, they’ve already missed the playoffs and to add insult to injury, they will probably lose Thomas Vanek too. Although New York gave up Matt Moulson, a first-round pick, and a second rounder to get him, the 30-year-old forward is expected be traded after he reportedly rejected the Islanders’ substantial offer.

With little hope and a team that’s likely to get worse before the season’s over, the Islanders don’t have much left to play for. Personal pride certainly has to rank high on their list of reasons to still give it their all. The belief, no matter how irrational, that they still have a shot, is likely another one. And for tonight, the desire to exact some measure of revenge against a Capitals’ squad that’s already beaten them twice this season.

Washington’s situation isn’t nearly as bleak as the Islanders. The Capitals are still very much in the battle for a playoff spot, but they’ve also watched their position degrade to the point where they’re on the outside looking in after their 6-9-6 run.

The Capitals managed to earn a 6-5 overtime win Sunday afternoon on the strength of an Alex Ovechkin marker and this has the potential to be an equally high scoring game. Washington netminders Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth haven’t been great lately and the Islanders’ goaltending has been consistently bad all season.

At the same time, these squads are certainly capable of putting on a show against anyone. That’s thanks in part to Ovechkin and John Tavares, but also do to their supporting casts that include the likes of Nicklas Backstrom in Washington and, at the time of writing, Vanek in New York.

Regardless of what type of game this evolves into, these two points will be critical for the Capitals. They haven’t drifted into the Islanders’ nightmare yet, but they need to move away from their lengthy slump if they want to keep it that way.

  1. imgoingtowichita - Feb 4, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Should be an entertaining game to watch.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 4, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      After reading the article, I assume your comment was made in jest.

      One team hopeless, the other near hopeless.

      And, maybe it’s over my head; but, can someone please explain this sentence: “Their 10-3-0 run certainly has been over the course of their five game losing streak.”

      • lowenni - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        I think he meant because it was two teams that can score a lot but have poor defenses. Goals a-plenty, fun game to watch, just like the Detroit-Washington game.

  2. sjtorpitt - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Use the sentence before. He’s saying that the 10-3-0 run has been squandered (ruined) by their current losing streak.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      I tried. Several times. Sorry. Still don’t get it. At least not the way it’s written.

      Minds more brilliant than mine apparently do get it.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        i consider myself to be decent with the english language and if he just added “squandered” again it would have been a lot easier to read. should have read as follows for clarity: “Their 10-3-0 run certainly has been ^squandered over the course of their ^current five game losing streak.”

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        THANK YOU, jpelle82! Now I get it. Thanks, too, to sjropitt.

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        sjtorpitt; not, sjropitt. sorry. language and spelling apparently aren’t my specialty today.

      • ibieiniid - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        since it’s critique Dadoun day:

        in fairness to you, pat, technically, the 10-3-0 run was squandered as soon as they finished the very next game, regardless of the outcome of the game. 10-4 or 11-3.

        but now I’m just nitpicking.

  3. bcisleman - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    It is now VERY likely that the Isles will miss the playoffs. The key w/ Vanek (although Garth hasn’t given up yet) is to use him and AMac as chips to get good young goalies and goalie prospects. A franchise G has eluded the Isles since the beginning of Milbury’s reign or error. If that comes out of this season, it will have been well worth it.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      i hope for the sake of healthy competition and the respectful islanders fans (like yourself) that they do get a goalie out of this mess. i worry that if they go for a young one or prospect(s) though that they will squander a delicate time window while waiting for a goalie prospect to develop and then deliver at the nhl level. the young and skilled skaters will want more money or a chance at winning in the coming years. it will be hard to lure in others and keep the ones they have if there is no goaltending or winning happening. i think they already missed their chance to improve this off-season after making the playoffs and when the future looked bright. schneider, bishop, bernier all couldve been had before the season started. not saying that goaltending is the only issue but it shouldve been the first one addressed in my opinion. the question now is where do they get a good one who will be ready for 2014-2015….

  4. ibieiniid - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    that headline is pretty intense.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Yes, it is. Sort of Alice Cooper-ish – Welcome to My Nightmare

  5. imgoingtowichita - Feb 4, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Iowenni got it.

  6. cspsrbums - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    As the title says, And the Caps let them

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