(Alex Brandon/Associated Press) Braden Holtby will make a 10th consecutive start tonight.


The New York Islanders, who have already defeated the Capitals twice this season, arrive at Verizon Center riding a recent wave of success. New York has won five of its last six and with 39 points — in ninth place but tied with the Rangers (seventh) and Devils (eighth) in points — and looking to continue moving up the standings.

Washington meanwhile is on its own hot streak, going 5-1-1 in its last seven games and hoping to close the gap on the Southeast Division leading Winnipeg Jets, who it trails by two points but has two games in hand. The Jets visit the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 p.m. tonight, for those interested in scoreboard watching.

Given how much every win means at this stage of the season, the Capitals want to prevent being swept in the season series by New York.

“We can’t take them lightly. We said that last time. They got a great road record,” Oates said of the Islanders, who are 11-5-1 on the road. “We can’t fall asleep. They’re a good team. They’re a better team than people think. They do a lot of things well.”

For some pregame reading check out the notes from the morning skate, with an educated guess as to what the lineup should look like against the Islanders, and Martin Erat’s arrival in Washington. He requested to be traded from Nashville, but now he must adjust to a new team for the first time in his career.

Faceoff: 7 p.m. Verizon Center | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7

Discuss the game in the comment section below. Based on warmups here’s what the lineup should look like:



Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth

Scratches: Jason Chimera, Aaron Volpatti, Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Schultz.
IR: Tom Poti (back).