Series (Game 4 of 4)

Washington leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 24th
Game 2: Friday, October 30th
Game 3: Wednesday, November 11th
Game 4: Tuesday, January 26th

Capitals 7

(34-12-6, 74 pts)

Islanders 2

(23-22-8, 54 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 26, 2010

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
WSH 4 2 17
NYI 1 1 02

A. Semin (Capitals - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Erskine (Capitals - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Chimera (Capitals - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Capitals-Islanders Preview


The Washington Capitals have matched their longest winning streak of the season and seized the Eastern Conference lead during a dominating January run.

Recent history suggests they'll face a stiff challenge as they look for a seventh straight victory.

Each of the Capitals' three meetings with the New York Islanders this season went to overtime, but Washington will be trying for a fourth consecutive win at Nassau Coliseum as the teams face off Tuesday night.

The Capitals (33-12-6) lead the NHL in goals, and their prolific offensive ways have carried them to their third six-game winning streak. Washington averaged nearly five goals while winning nine of its last 10.

The Capitals went 12 of 27 (44.4 percent) on the power play in the last eight games and are tops in the league with the man advantage at 26.0 percent.

"You're gonna go through peaks and valleys, and I think we're playing good right now but I hope it's not our best," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We don't want to peak right now, we want to start peaking in April and May and June."

Alexander Semin powered Washington past Phoenix on Saturday night, scoring his 21st goal and adding three assists in a 4-2 victory. The win kept Washington three points ahead of second-place New Jersey in the East.

"He's got some of the best vision in the league," Capitals wing Eric Fehr said of Semin. "He's got one of the hardest shots, and guys often forget he's a really good passer as well. He has his nights where it seems he can't do anything wrong and pucks are on guys' sticks and he's making big plays."

While Alex Ovechkin gets much of the credit for Washington's high-scoring ways, he's had plenty of help lately from Semin, who totaled seven goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games.

Semin's next point will make him the fourth Capitals player -- along with Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green -- to reach 50, something no other team can claim.

The young Islanders, however, have been undaunted by Washington this season, snapping a five-game losing streak in the series with a 4-3 road win in overtime Oct. 30. The clubs' other two meetings were won by the Caps after regulation, one of them a 3-2 overtime victory on Long Island on Oct. 24.

Washington's Jose Theodore was pulled from the most recent meeting Nov. 11 after allowing three goals on five shots in seven minutes. The Caps, though, won 5-4 in a shootout.

New York (23-21-8) has surged to the edge of the playoff picture by going 10-4-1 in its last 15, although it dropped two of its last three in regulation to some of the East's other top contenders.

The Islanders lost 6-4 at Pittsburgh last Tuesday, and New Jersey's 4-2 win on Saturday night snapped New York's six-game home winning streak.

The teams entered the final period tied, but the Isles were outshot 14-3 and outscored 2-0 in the final 20 minutes.

"We didn't get our forecheck established and we weren't putting as much pressure on their (defense) in the offense zone," goalie Rick DiPietro said. "We got away from it in the third and need to learn from our mistakes."

With DiPietro still injured, Dwayne Roloson started the three meetings with Washington this season. DiPietro, though, allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last nine starts against the Capitals, going 7-1-1 with a 1.52 goals-against average.