Caps-Islanders pregame notebook

Caps-Islanders pregame notebook
March 9, 2013, 10:45 am
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News and notes as the Capitals [10-11-1] take on the New York Islanders [10-11-3] at Nassau Coliseum today at 1 p.m. [CSN].

Grubauer gets the call: With Michal Neuvirth ill and Braden Holtby coming off his 11th straight start, Adam Oates told reporters before the game that rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer will get his first NHL start today. 

Grubauer, 21, stopped all 14 shots he faced in his only other NHL appearance Feb. 27 against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

The series: This is the Caps’ first and only visit to Long Island this season. The Caps dominated the Isles with an 11-0-1 run before the two teams split their four games last season.

Trending: In their first 11 games of the season the Caps averaged 2.3 goals per game and allowed 3.7 goals per game and went 2-8-1. In their last 11 they’ve scored 3.7 goals per game and have allowed 2.0 goals per game, including three shutouts, and have gone 8-3-0.

Recent action: The Caps are coming off a 7-1 rout over the Panthers, while the Islanders are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Rangers in which they blew a 1-0 lead late in the third period.

Feeling special: The Caps’ power play is humming at 32.4 percent in the past 11 games and has climbed to third in the NHL and first in the East at 26.3 percent overall. The Isles are ranked sixth in the NHL and fourth in the East at 23.1 percent.

Ovi watch: After recording just 10 points in his first 16 games, Alex Ovechkin has 10 points [four goals, six assists] in his last six games. In 13 career games at the Coliseum, Ovechkin has 10 goals and five assists. Ovechkin’s next point will be the 700th of his NHL career. He has played in 575 games.

Hit parade: Islanders forward Matt Martin leds the NHL with 174 hits this season. He set an NHL record last season with 374 hits. By comparison the Caps are led by Ovechkin’s 47 hits.

Orlov returns tonight: Hershey Bears defenseman Dmitry Orlov [concussion] is expected to play his first game in more than three months tonight when the Bears visit the Norflk Admirals. Bears coach Mark French told the Harrisburg Partriot-News that he expectd Orlove to play “probably in a limited role.” Orlov suffered a concussion in the AHL Showcase Classic at Verizon Center on Dec. 6.