NHL Hockey: New York Islanders at Washington Capitals

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The New York Islanders have been bearing down in crunch time of their last few games as they've continued to find ways to win.

The Islanders look for another strong effort on Sunday, as they try to win three straight games for the first time in more than two months when they visit the Washington Capitals.

Oddsmakers have made Washington -115 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 6.5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books).

New York (25-21-6) trailed Montreal by a goal after two periods on Saturday, but scored three unanswered third-period goals to win 4-2.

After going 2-8-1 from Dec. 27-Jan. 16, the Islanders have gotten back on track to record points in a season-high six straight games (4-0-2). They have been especially effective with the game on the line, outscoring their opponents 11-1 in the third period in those four wins.

``I think we played a smart game and limited our mistakes, and when you do that you're going to give yourself a chance to win every night,'' said goaltender Rick DiPietro, who stopped 28 shots against the Canadiens.

Saturday's win was costly, though, as defenseman Radek Martinek landed awkwardly on his left ankle after he was checked into the boards, and had to be carried off the ice.

``There's a little fracture, I believe,'' Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. ``He'll probably be out for four to six weeks. We don't know the length of the injury yet but it doesn't look good. Hopefully he'll be back in six weeks.''

The Islanders haven't won three straight games since Nov. 22-25, but have won six of their last seven against the Capitals (21-25-7), including a 4-1 victory on Nov. 25.

DiPietro made 34 saves against Washington in November, and is 4-0-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last five starts against them. He has been in net for New York for six of its last eight games when it plays on consecutive days, and is 5-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA and two shutouts in those contests.

Trent Hunter scored two goals in the third period on Saturday, and has four goals and three assists during his season-high six-game points streak.

Jason Blake, who leads the Islanders with 27 goals and 47 points, scored two goals against Washington in November, and has six goals and four assists in his last five games against the Capitals.

New York has won the first two games of its three-game road trip, and is 5-1-1 on the road since Jan. 9.

The Capitals lost to Pittsburgh 2-0 on Saturday, and have dropped eight of their last 10 games.

Alexander Ovechkin's 13-game scoring streak - the NHL's longest this season - ended against the Penguins, and he was angry because he felt Washington played well enough to win.

``We have to score and we didn't score,'' said Ovechkin, who had eight goals and 12 assists during his point streak. ``I was just very mad. I think it was a good game for us. We just lost.''

Ovechkin had a goal against the Islanders in their last meeting, and has three goals and two assists in four career games against them.

Olaf Kolzig has lost his last three starts, and has also been struggling against New York.

Kolzig stopped 26 shots in the loss to the Islanders in November, and is just 1-4-0 with a 3.69 GAA in his last five games against them. The 15-year veteran is 24-9-2 with a 2.31 GAA in his career against New York, though, tied for his most career victories against any opponent with Carolina.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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