Coach Terry Murray seems determined to carry a couple of extra forwards and at least one extra defenseman on his team's roster.

The theory is that such an approach makes adjusting to injuries easier and increases intrasquad competition, although the competition is mainly among those four or five who normally make up the fourth line.

In last night's game against the New York Islanders, the odd men out were forwards Tim Bergland and Rob Murray and defenseman Joel Quenneville. Bergland has watched the last three games after playing 33 in a row.

"You try to be very fair and you have to rate the players," said Murray, who is searching for a combination that will get his club out of a three-game slide. "We want to play the best players."

Rob Murray's style is similar to that of Dave Tippett, who has played in every game after being acquired Sept. 30 from Hartford. Both kill penalties and play good defense.

"It's a little frustrating, but I just have to bide my time and I'll get a chance to play. When I do, I have to take advantage of it," Rob Murray said. "With Dave coming in . . . he has taken up some of what I figured I would be doing. But we're only {eight} games into the season." Time Marches On

Tonight's game was the 701st in the NHL career of right wing Dino Ciccarelli. The assist he collected on Mike Ridley's goal in Wednesday's game with the New Jersey Devils was the 750th point of his career. . . .

Nick Kypreos had five goals in 31 games last season. He has two in six games this season and both were game-winners -- the Capitals' only game-winning goals. . . .

The Islanders have had more than their share of eye injuries. Defenseman Rich Pilon missed the last 66 games of last season with bruises and lacerations of the right eye. He was hit by a shot off the stick of Detroit's Brent Fedyk on Nov. 4. Pilon wasn't cleared to play until Sept. 7. Right wing Alan Kerr was hit in the eye during Monday's practice and is still sidelined. Although he has bruises on the eyeball and some cuts on the eyelid, Kerr might skate next week.