Just two days after one of their worst performances of the season, the Capitals (36-14-5) return to the ice to host the New York Islanders (31-16-6). Catch the game and all pregame and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. bringing you up to the 7 p.m. puck drop. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here's what you need to know for Monday's game.
Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal on Saturday for just the second time in eight games. He was also held to just two shots on goal, the fewest he has managed since Jan. 11, still remains two away from reaching the 700-goal milestone.
If Ovechkin scores No. 700 on Monday, it will be very fitting. As pointed out by NHL.com writer Tom Gulitti, three of the seven No. 700 goals scored in history have come against the Islanders.
Gordie Howe, DET: at PIT, 12/4/68
Phil Esposito, NYR: at WSH, 2/2/80
Marcel Dionne, NYR: at NYI, 10/31/87
Wayne Gretzky, LAK: at NYI, 1/3/91
Mike Gartner, PHX: vs. DET, 12/14/97
Brett Hull, DET: vs. SJS, 2/10/03
Jaromir Jagr, NJD: at NYI, 3/1/14
Alex Ovechkin, WSH: ? https://t.co/Hy47bFkmtD
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) February 7, 2020
Jensen is in, Gudas is out
Todd Reirden will continue experimenting with the defensive pairings as Nick Jensen is back in, taking the place of Radko Gudas on the third pair.
Also of note, Martin Fehervary remains in the lineup. He was technically reassigned to the AHL on Sunday, but that was strictly a paper move in order to bank cap space. He remains with the team and will play on Monday.
Here are the lines from the morning skate:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Martin Fehervary - Dmitry Orlov
Jonas Siegenthaler - Nick Jensen
Ilya Samsonov will get the start for Washington, his 19th of the season. He came into Saturday's game late in relief of Braden Holtby who had been shelled for seven goals.
Samsonov saw his streak of 10 wins in 10 starts snapped on Feb. 2 in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Still, his overall numbers for the season are stellar with a 16-3-1 record, 2.19 GAA and .923 save percentage.
When last we met
Monday's game will be the fourth and final meeting between the Caps and Islanders this season. Washington leads the season series 2-1-0 with two wins on the road and one loss at home.
These two teams last met on Jan. 18 in one of the craziest games of the season. New York held a 4-1 lead heading into the third period, but the Caps scored five times in the final 20 minutes, including two goals from Ovechkin to complete the hat trick, in a 6-4 regulation win.
Early in the season, it looked like the Metropolitan Division would come down to the Caps and Islanders. New York, however, has a faded a bit and sit nine points behind Washington with two games in hand. The Islanders are actually sitting in a wild card spot currently thanks to the resurgence of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Caps, meanwhile, hold a four-point lead for first place in the Metro over the Pittsburgh Penguins, though Pittsburgh has a game in hand.
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