Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gameday: vs. NY Islanders, Feb. 28

Time to make the run without help at the deadline.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the New York Islanders to Verizon Center on Tuesday night as they begin a critical five-game homestand and attempt to gain some momentum heading into a brutal month of March.  The Capitals, having won two in a row, are 4-5-1 in their last ten games and and 31-26-5 overall for 67 standings points in 62 games.  Those 67 points place them third in the Southeast Division, three points behind the Panthers with one more game played, and ninth overall in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Jets for the final playoff spot with three games in hand.  The Isles, on the other hand, lost their last contest and are 4-6 in their last ten and 26-28-8 overall for 60 standings points in 62 games.  Those 60 points place them last in the Atlantic Division and thirteenth in the East.  This is the third of four meetings between these clubs this season; the Isles have won both, including a 3-0 shutout in their last meeting.

Evgeni Nabokov is almost certain to earn the call in goal from Jack Capuano despite allowing four goals in a loss his last time out.  Nabokov, in his first full season on the Island, is having a stellar year with a 15-15-0 record, 2.32 GAA, .922 save percentage, and two shutouts.  What's more, he has a GAA of 1.99 in his career against Washington and made 17 stops in that shutout win over them in mid-January.  Outside the crease, New York only has one minor injury, as defenseman Steve Staios is questionable with a lower-body ailment.

Dale Hunter seems likely to turn to Michal Neuvirth in goal following his two excellent games over the weekend, in which he only allowed three goals in two wins.  On the year, Neuvirth is 8-9-3 with a 2.87 GAA, .903 save percentage, and two shutouts; he has not faced the Isles this year but has played extremely well against them in his career.  On the injury front, the Capitals will be without star center Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed almost two months now with a concussion and is on IR.  Keith Aucoin will remain in the lineup over Mike Knuble, while Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine will probably remain healthy scratches in back.

That's all for now.  Follow me on Twitter here for updates and news.

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