Top-10 Caps games: No.8 at Islanders

Top-10 Caps games: No.8 at Islanders
August 20, 2014, 1:30 pm
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New York Islanders center Josh Bailey (12) carries the puck during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Islanders won 5-4.

(Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

Earlier this offseason we learned the Capitals entire slate of games for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign and highlighted some of the notable match-ups and storylines. Now we go a bit deeper by counting down the 10 most interesting contests.

GAME No. 10: Capitals vs. Blues, Sun. Feb. 1

GAME No. 9: Capitals vs. Rangers, Wed. Mar. 11

GAME No. 8: Capitals at Islanders, Mon. Dec. 29

The interest: The Capitals' 100th regular-season visit to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum will also be their last, as the Islanders prepare to move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the start of the 2015-16 season.

The Nassau Coliseum has been the Islanders' home arena since 1972 and is the NHL's second oldest active building, behind only New York's Madison Square Garden (1968). Unlike the Garden, which has been maintained and renovated over the decades, the Coliseum has long been considered an out-dated facility.

The Caps and Islanders will have already met twice in November (a home-and-home series Nov. 26 and Nov. 28) before facing off in New York on Dec. 29. They close the regular-season series at Verizon Center on Feb. 21.

The Islanders: With the final season at the Coliseum as the backdrop, the Islanders are hoping to close the building in style, reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for just the second time since 2007, and move to Brooklyn next fall with some on-ice momentum to boot.

John Tavares [24 goals and 66 points in 59 games] is expected to return healthy after suffering a season-ending injury at the 2014 Sochi Games and should be joined by Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner on New York's No.1 line.

The Islanders also signed former Caps Mikhail Grabovski [4-years, $20M] and Jaroslav Halak [4-years, $18M] to long-term deals in hopes of brighter days ahead.

The history: The Coliseum may not have the history or charm of the Montreal Forum, Chicago Stadium or Boston Garden, but it did house four consecutive Stanley Cup champions when the Islanders were the class of the NHL from 1980-1983.

Around that same time, the Capitals were still finding their footing as an organization and from1974-1982, the Caps were winless in their first 19 games on Long Island (0-18-1).

Fortunately for the current group of Capitals, they have enjoyed much success against the Islanders in recent years, compiling a 17-5-1 record since 2008-09, including a 9-2-0 mark in Uniondale over that same stretch.

Washington goalies Braden Holtby (5-1-0, 1.94GAA, .941SV%) and Justin Peters (2-1-0, 0.86 GAA, .970SV%, 1 shutout) have also fared well against the Islanders.

Beware of trap: Despite their recent success on Long Island, the Capitals' final game of calendar year 2014 is far from a guaranteed win.

If anything, the Dec.29 meeting with the Islanders could be a classic 'trap game,' considering that it falls two nights after the Caps' first game of the season against Pittsburgh (Dec. 27) and just three days before the Winter Classic against Chicago (Jan.1).