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              Capitals @ Islanders Preview         by: Nomad (Mike) and Sparky (stats)       November 27, 2001


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Washington Capitals
NY Islanders
November 27th, 2001   7:30 pm
       The Stats
NY Islanders
15-5-2-1, 33 points
1st, Atlantic Division
0-0-0-0 vs. Washington
3.00 Goals/Game (3rd)
2.39 GAA (9th)
18.3% PP (6th)
90.1% PK (2nd)
7-1-1-1 at home

3.4 G/G
3.2 GAA

2.7 G/G 
2.8 GAA

Top Scorers
M. Parrish - 16
A. Yashin - 13
S. Bates - 7
M. Peca - 15
R. Hamrlik - 14
Two tied with 11
M. Parrish - 26
A. Yashin - 24
M. Peca - 21
Osgood 13-6-1, 2.18, .922
Snow 2-0-1, 3.34, .889
Nomad's Take
Magic 8-Ball
       Nomad's Take
[Publisher's Note: Nomad has kindly agreed to provide his very popular scouting reports to Washington Hockey, leaving only the stats, the Matchups and the 8-Ball to me.  He normally can be found on the official site surrounded by devotees.  -Sparky]

The Islanders are riding high as one of the best teams in hockey so far this year. All season long, their wins have come in streaks, with no single win surrounded by losses or ties. At the present, they are in the middle of another one of their winning streaks, 4 consecutive wins - a tie for their best of the season. Their 5 regulation losses on the season are good for third best in the league, sitting behind only the front-loaded Red Wings and the upstart Flames. Not bad for a team that has had nearly a decade's worth of disappointing seasons. The advantage also lies in the Islanders favor this game, as they are sporting the home ice advantage in an arena which has become resurrected itself, no longer bearing the nickname of "the Mausoleum" on nights when the Isles face star power themselves (the Isles have only one home loss so far this year - a 6-2 loss to the Rangers). The overall effect of this season took some time to pay full dividends, however, as every game is still not a sellout for the soaring club with the historied fanbase, recording 2 games thus far with sub-10K attendance, and one other occasion selling just over 10,000 tickets. All things considered, however, the Islanders are a team with a dream, led by some of the most well-known outcasts in hockey.

Then we have your nation's Capitals. The Caps recently put together their longest winning streak of the season at 3 games, only to suffer the stopping effect on the cusp of a break from the hectic action. Shot down by the Canadiens in their last game, the Caps again face back to back games starting on Long Island and returning home to DC to face off against another New York team, the Buffalo Sabres. The back-to-back to open their current run will be an important precursor to the following 5 games, as they will not face a break of more than one day between games from now until the final horn on December 8. The Caps should be looking to this game as their chance for redemption, the ability to stare down a powerful opponent and prove to the league that they are back and ready to run. The best news I can offer for the Caps is that the Islanders have proven mortal thus far in November, going 6-5-1-0, and this is the Caps opportunity to knock them back down to .500 on the month.

Players to Watch:
When the Red Wings won their second consecutive Stanley Cup over the Washington Capitals, the weakest link in their powerhouse team was considered their goaltending. It was said at the time that Chris Osgood was a mediocre goalie playing for an incredible team. While that MIGHT be true at the time, and the Wings felt Osgood was no longer fit to lead them to glory (probably too young) it appears that the sub-30 year old has found life anew in the place where until recently, players were sent for a reality check. In his new home, Osgood has posted an amazing 13-5-1-1 record with a 2.18 GAA. Technically sound, but acrobatically unspectacular, Osgood plays a simplistic game between the pipes, and that is his greatest asset. Without much room for mistakes in his technical game, Osgood is a brick wall when he is on his game. Two goals in quick succession is the way to crumble that wall, as Osgood's confidence is key to his game, and when he sees two within a couple minutes, that confidence is out the window.
Last year, one of the more recognized players on the New York Islanders was a young budding power forward they had acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes. This year, 24-year old Brad Isbister has been all but unrecognizeable among a see of newcomers and new-found stars among the Isles roster. His modest 6g-5a-11p ranks him 7th on the squad in points, while last season he ranked 5th overall on the team despite only playing in 51 games. On the other hand, his 37 PIMs are enough to rank the young hard-nosed bruiser third overall on the team. With the rising ranks of stardom on the Island, it could become possible that Isbister, who was already rumored to have problems with management last year, be on his way out of town. Pay attention, George - the off-season training program could make this one a keeper.
You know things are topsy turvy in the league when Roman Hamrlik is playing on a team that is among the best in its conference. The man teams turn to as a sparkplug to reignite their power plays and bring some offense to their blue lines has finally been around when a team got its act together. One of the better offensive blue liners in the NHL, Hamrlik is well rounded enough to know his way around his own end of the ice fairly well also. Though not a defensive stalwart, Hamrlik can be relied on not to make a stupid mistake which will cost a goal, and when the puck gets to the offensive zone, the puck is safe on his stick. Controlling plays from the point, Hamrlik is, at 27 years old, one of the best in the league at reading defenses from the blue line. With over half his career points coming on the power play, the man to keep your eyes on when your team is down a man is the one wearing #4.

There is no shame in losing to the New York Islanders. This is a team that the Caps are not supposed to beat. That is why it would make a nice surprise to everyone around here, I am sure, if the Caps would come up victorious in this one. With scoring depth coming from two very powerful lines, defending the Isles is a difficult task, but one that the resurging Caps defense may be up to. This would be a good game to convince the league that the Caps are back, and they are for real.

Prediction: 3-2 Caps
       The Matchups




Penalty Kill


The Isles have been clicking well lately, but so have the Caps.  Both sides have great weapons

Both teams have struggled lately, but both are coming back.  Isles better over the young season.

Osgood is en fuego and Snow is unbeaten.  Kolzig may get the night off, but has been good lately.

The Capitals PP unit is back after a long absence.  The Isles are very good as well, but not quite as good.

The Caps have not been good on the road at all, the Isles are excellent anywhere.

The Caps can smell their winning streak coming and have owned the Isles over the last five years.

Edge Islanders, but the Caps could come out fired up in the first game of a back to back schedule.
       Magic 8-Ball Says...
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9-12-2-0  20 points
2nd, Southeast Division
0-0-0-0 vs. the Isles
2.61 Goals/Game (16th)
3.04 GAA  (29th)
20.2% PP (5th)
80.2% PK  (26th)
3-9-1-0 on road
16.39% road PP
73.53% road PK
3.20 G/G 
3.00 GAA
28.57% PP
80.00% PK
2.90 G/G 
3.70 GAA
Top Scorers
P. Bondra - 13
U. Dahlen - 7
J. Jagr - 7
A. Oates - 14
S. Gonchar - 13
Two tied with 10
S. Gonchar - 20
U. Dahlen - 19
P. Bondra - 19
Olaf Kolzig 9-10-1, 2.80, .904
C. Billington 0-2-1, 3.91, .864
"Will the Capitals beat the Islanders tonight?"


The Capitals continue their solid play and domination over the Isles, winning 4-3 in OT

Magic 8-Ball's Record: