The Islanders can put a stranglehold on their quarterfinal series with the Capitals with a win on Tuesday. The Isles took control of the series over Washington with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon in front of a robust and rowdy pro-Islanders crowd. The game was tied at a goal apiece after regulation time but Islanders captain John Tavares scored just 15 seconds into OT to put his team up 2-1 in the series.
Now both teams turn their attention to Game 4 (7:30 p.m., MSG+), which will once again take place in Uniondale, New York. The Capitals are likely to send out Braden Holtby to man the pipes again. He has a .926 save percentage but has not been getting help in front of him as the Capitals have lost both games he’s played. Philipp Grubauer started in Washington’s Game 2 victory after Holtby was excused due to illness.
Jaroslav Halak has been sharp in goal for the Islanders so far; he has a .929 save percentage in three games but has faced only 85 shots, pointing to a strong defensive effort by the Isles this round.
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The Islanders have managed to keep Alex Ovechkin off the scoresheet for the most part, letting him score just once. Ovechkin has recorded 15 shots though, suggesting he has been a little unlucky. Nicklas Backstrom has stepped up for the Capitals, tallying two goals and two assists so far this series. Backstrom is the only Capital with multiple goals in these three games.
Meanwhile the Islanders have been spreading the wealth on offense; Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome all have two goals each in the series, and Josh Bailey leads the team in points with four (one goal, three assists). John Tavares has been leading by example with his one goal and two assists.
Both teams have struggled to produce on the power play in their limited opportunities; the Islanders are 0-for-6 while the Capitals are just 1-for-6.
Expect the Capitals to play a tighter game on defense, as they allowed 42 shots on goal in Game 3, twice as many as they allowed in Game 2. The Islanders have allowed 25 shots in their victories but surrendered 35 shots in their Game 2 defeat.