Caps (25-14-8, 58 points) at Islanders (14-23-7, 35 points)
What » Game #48
Where » Nassau Coliseum
When » 7 p.m.
TV » CSN HD
Radio » WFED-1500 AM
The three-game road trip continues on Long Island as the Caps look to rebound from a 3-2 overtime loss to Philadelphia. Check out our story on the team's offensive woes from this morning’s print edition here.
No lineup changes expected tonight at forward because, well, there’s no one to turn to. Washington has 12 forwards on the trip right now. Andrew Gordon was returned to AHL Hershey before the Flyers game on Tuesday. Eric Fehr was listed on the active 23-man roster the other night, but is obviously out the rest of the month with an upper-body injury. Tom Poti (lower-body injury) was also on the active roster. He’s not playing, either.
So the six defensemen are set, too? Not so fast. John Erskine didn’t skate during Wednesday’s practice in Philadelphia and The Patriot News’ Tim Leone says Brian Fahey has been summoned from Hershey after practicing with the Bears this morning. Erskine isn’t listed on the injury report, but keep an eye on that.
The bigger question is in goal. According to the Post’s Katie Carrera and Caps senior staff writer Mike Vogel – both reporting from New York – it looks like rookie Braden Holtby gets the start against the Islanders. He took shots during the morning skate and was the first goalie off the ice. Semyon Varlamov would serve as the backup. He didn’t participate in practice yesterday and was listed as day-to-day with an injury. Michal Neuvirth, of course, left the Flyers game after the first period with a lower-body injury of his own and returned to Washington yesterday for further examination. He, too, is listed as day-to-day.
Whoever is in goal won’t be getting a win without some offensive support. The Caps have scored more than three goals just twice in their last 21 games. They are the NHL’s worst first-period team with 28 goals total. Luckily, the Islanders stink, too, with just 29 first-period goals. The difference is Washington makes up for it in the second period, where it has 51 goals and sits fifth in the NHL. The Caps are pretty good in the third period, too, with 48 goals, including five in the last two games alone to rally both times and earn three standings points.
New York averages just 2.4 goals per game, though 22-year-old Kyle Okposo is expected to play tonight for the first time all season thanks to a shoulder injury in September. In his two previous full seasons – plus nine games in 2007-08 – Okposo has scored a combined 39 goals so his presence is a big boost for the Islanders.
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