|Nicklas Backstrom takes the ice at the Coliseum last season.|
The Islanders will start mercurial franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro in nets tonight as he makes his return from an illness that forced him to miss the Isles' last game. DP has, like the rest of his team, struggled this year to the tune of a 3.43 GAA and a .892 save percentage. However, he has the potential to win a game for his team on any given night, so the Capitals should not take this game lightly (for that matter, they shouldn't take any game lightly).
Braden Holtby will make his fifth start, and sixth appearance, in the Capitals goal tonight, getting the nod from coach Bruce Boudreau. Holtby has been decidedly bad this season for the Caps, with a 3.84 GAA and .845 save percentage, and has not appeared in the NHL since mid November. He is, however, among the league leaders in the AHL in every goaltending category. Semyon Varlamov did skate this morning and it does not look like his injury is as bad as initially feared. He will be able to back up Holtby for this evening's contest.
Outside the crease, all 18 Capitals skaters on the road trip practiced this morning and all are expected to play as Andrew Gordon was returned to Hershey yesterday afternoon. That means DJ King will stay in the lineup, which I cannot understand, considering King did nothing outside of get in a fight (he literally had zeroes across the board) in the Caps' last game. Maybe give Gordo another shot? The kid has impressed...
Puck drops 7:09-ish. Check back later.