Bob Carpenter and Mike Gartner helped the Capitals win the first two games of the Patrick Division semifinal series while nursing sore knees through limited ice time. Now they are ready to go all-out in an effort to finish off the Islanders Saturday.

"I asked Coach Bryan Murray this morning to start playing me a regular shift," Gartner said. "My knee feels really good and there is no additional swelling. I feel very strong on it and I'm ready to play my usual game.

"Bryan set the ice time just right for the first two games, 10 minutes the first game and maybe 15 last night. He left it up to me and he was asking how I felt between periods. The first game, I worried a bit until the first contact, wondering how the knee was going to react. But it was no problem. It was more mental than physical."

While Gartner skated in practice Thursday and today, Carpenter chose to stay off the ice and undergo heat treatment. He received a bit more ice time than Gartner each night.

"It's been a little stiff and I figured it was better to rest it rather than practice," said Carpenter, who scored the game-winning goal Wednesday.