With yet another three-game win streak under their belts, the Capitals are headed to New York to play the Islanders on Saturday afternoon. It is the first of back-to-back games with a home contest Sunday night against the New York Rangers.
No word on who will start in goal for Adam Oates. Michal Neuvirth is still sick and “not 100 percent”, Oates said after Friday’s practice at Kettler Iceplex. And so Philipp Grubauer remains with the team and will accompany them to Long Island while Neuvirth stays home. But will he make his first NHL start and give Braden Holtby a rest? Holtby has started the last 11 games in a row. Oates was non-committal on that one saying only that he would explore all options. That includes playing Holtby in both games. But don’t bet on that one. Washington also has games Tuesday and Thursday against Southeast Division-leading Carolina. It’s unlikely Holtby would play all of them.
Defenseman Mike Green (groin) is not making the trip to New York either. He did skate for a little while before practice and is feeling better, Oates said. But there is no timeline for a return. He missed three games, returned for two and will miss his fourth in a row on Saturday.
“And I know that you guys are sick of hearing the same story and I don’t blame you,” Oates said. “I experienced two groin issues and I missed seven weeks with both of them and the abdominal tear is where you’re wondering what’s going on, you throw darts, you go out there and try it out and it’s ‘no no no’ and then suddenly one day it’s ‘yes’ and you’re playing. You see that with every guy with a groin.
Forward Jason Chimera was “a little sore in spots,” but otherwise took part in Friday’s practice after a blind side hit in Thursday’s win over Florida by defenseman Tyson Strachan. That play led to a five-minute major penalty and an ejection for Strachan, who hit Chimera in the head with his shoulder. But the NHL has decided against a hearing for any supplemental discipline won’t be issued.
The Caps (10-11-1, 21 standings points) have yet to play the Islanders (10-11-3, 23 points) this season. New York entered play Friday in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with two more games played than Washington.
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