Tue, 09 Aug 2022

Alex Ovechkin eyeing landmark goal as Caps face Islanders

Field Level Media
15 Mar 2022, 03:40 GMT+10

Alex Ovechkin will get another chance at a landmark goal when the never-say-die Washington Capitals host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin has no goals over his last two games, keeping his career total at 766 goals and tied with Jaromir Jagr for third place on the NHL's all-time goals list. Ovechkin also is tied with Brett Hull for 23rd place on the all-time points list (1,391).

While Ovechkin undoubtedly would love to achieve new milestones on home ice, his first focus is on securing another victory for the rolling Capitals.

Washington is 4-0-1 over its last five games, bringing the team within five points of the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Capitals are returning home after a three-game trip that saw them trail in the third period of all three contests. Still, the Capitals recorded five of a possible six points, including a 4-3 overtime win Friday over the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver took the lead after scoring all three of its goals in the first five minutes of the final period, but Evgeny Kuznetsov later collected the equalizer for Washington. Lars Eller sealed the victory with the overtime winner.

Friday's game "got muddled up a little bit" at the beginning of the third period, Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "But when that did happen, again to push back the way we have in a couple of games here has been really good. (The) guys are just not stopping."

Kuznetsov's second career hat trick gave the forward seven points (four goals, three assists) over a five-game points streak.

The Islanders are coming off a gritty victory of their own, extending their winning streak to three games with Sunday's 4-3 decision over the Anaheim Ducks. Though Anaheim outshot New York 42-29, the Islanders held on for the type of tight win that often has eluded the club this season.

"I believe in the hockey gods, and if you put in the work, you usually get rewarded at some point. ... Maybe that's one of those games that we get back a little bit," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.

Four different Islanders players are on four-game points streaks, with Anders Lee (seven goals, one assist) leading the quartet with eight points during his surge. Anthony Beauvillier has seven assists, and Kyle Palmieri (two goals, three assists) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (one goal, four assists) each have five points apiece.

Per the Islanders' usual goaltending rotation, Semyon Varlamov is in line to start on Tuesday. If Trotz opts to play the hotter goalie, however, Ilya Sorokin has a 4-1-0 record and a .954 save percentage over his last five starts.

Vitek Vanecek also has been in good form and likely will get another start in Washington's net. Over his last seven games, Vanecek is 5-1-0 with a .938 save percentage and two shutouts.

The other of Vanecek's three shutouts this season came in Washington's first meeting with the Islanders. Vanecek made 23 saves as the Capitals blanked New York 2-0 on Jan. 15.

The Capitals are 9-for-24 with the extra attacker over their last seven games, with at least one power-play goal in six of those games. Washington's power-play unit will be tested against one of the NHL's better penalty-killing teams, as the Islanders are 22-for-24 on the kill in their last nine games.

--Field Level Media

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