Islanders-Capitals Preview

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  • New York Islanders
    New York Islanders
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  • Washington Capitals
    Washington Capitals
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  • Jaroslav Halak
    Jaroslav Halak
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  • Alex Ovechkin
    Alex Ovechkin
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It's easy for Alex Ovechkin to believe the Washington Capitals will fare better in the finale of their home-and-home set with the surging New York Islanders than they did in the opener. Actually getting it done Friday remains a serious challenge for the Capitals, who will try to keep the visiting Islanders from their first six-game winning streak in seven seasons. John Tavares scored with 23.2 seconds left in overtime and Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves to extend his winning streak to eight games by helping New York (16-6-0) to a 3-2 victory over Washington on Wednesday. ''I think the next game will be different for them and for us as well,'' said Ovechkin, who scored twice on the power play. That means the Capitals (9-8-4) must step up their game to cool off an Islanders team that's won 10 of 11 and is tied with Pittsburgh atop a Metropolitan Division it's gone 7-1-0 within. New York, which set a club record by winning 16 of its first 22 games, hasn't won six in a row since Feb. 12-21, 2008. "Obviously, the biggest thing right now, it's still November," Islanders forward Anders Lee, who scored for the second time in three games, told the NHL's official website. "Obviously we've had a great start and we want to continue that and continue moving forward. But we're not going to get too caught up in all of this." The Islanders have totaled 18 goals and allowed more than two once in five games. Tavares and Travis Hamonic each scored on the power play. "We didn't play our best game, but because we're kind of on a roll, we have that confidence, and pucks are going our way (so) we can come out with wins," Lee said. "When you play back to back like this, the momentum from (Wednesday), the physicality, everything carries over for sure." Despite not earning the extra point, the Capitals believe they also have something positive to build on while trying to avoid a third consecutive defeat. "We played the right way to win," said forward Marcus Johansson, who recorded his second assist in as many games after going four straight without a point. "If we play like this on Friday, I'm pretty sure we're going to get more than one point. If we play like we did (Wednesday) against a team like this we're going to get a lot of points." Washington, however, might need to find a way to get the best of Halak, who has a 1.21 goals-against average during his eight-game run that followed a four-game skid during which he posted a 3.89 GAA. Halak is two shy of Billy Smith's franchise-record 10 straight wins recorded from Jan. 23-Feb. 25, 1982. This could be Halak's first appearance at Washington since the team traded him to New York in May. He went 5-4-3 with a 2.31 GAA in a little more than a month with the Capitals last season. "They're not happy about (Wednesday's) result so they're going to try to play better," Halak said. Ovechkin has five goals and two assists in his last five games versus New York.