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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 4th (All times Eastern)

New York Islanders (21-28-8) at Washington Capitals (25-22-9), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders have lost ground in the NHL playoff race during a five-game slide and the club may have more bad news coming down the pike.

But first, the struggling club hopes to avoid a sixth consecutive setback on Tuesday when it visits the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.

In addition to posting an 0-4-1 record during its current slide, the Isles are also having difficulty convincing winger Thomas Vanek to stay with the club and New York may wind up trading the Austrian winger.

According to a report Monday in Newsday, Vanek, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, has turned down a "substantial contract offer" from the Isles. The report also says New York general manager Garth Snow is fielding offers from teams looking to acquire the 30-year-old forward.

Vanek was acquired from Buffalo in a trade on Oct. 27 and he has 15 goals and 38 points in 41 games with the Islanders after becoming part of a formidable top line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo.

If Vanek is dealt by the Isles, it will turn out to be a costly rental for the club. New York sent winger Matt Moulson to the Sabres along with a first-round pick in this summer's draft as well as a second-rounder in 2015 to land Vanek.

The NHL trade deadline for this season is March 5.

The Islanders went 10-3-0 from Dec. 29-Jan. 21 before losing five in a row. The club's last two losses came against the rival New York Rangers, who posted a 2-1 regulation win over the Isles in last Wednesday's outdoor game at Yankee Stadium before notching a 4-1 home win Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Derick Brassard and Brad Richards scored less than three minutes apart in the third period to support a strong effort from Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers' win over the Isles at MSG.

Okposo had the lone score for the struggling Islanders, while Evgeni Nabokov stopped 33-of-36 chances in defeat.

"We just looked like we ran out of gas," Tavares said. "We just didn't seem to have that extra gear when we needed it."

With 50 points, the Isles are currently 13th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference and 12 points out of a playoff spot.

Including tonight's tilt, New York has three games left before the NHL breaks for the Winter Olympics. After visiting Washington on Tuesday, the Isles will host Calgary and Colorado on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

After losing seven in a row from Jan. 12-24, Washington has recorded three wins over its last five games and is 3-1-1 during that stretch. The Capitals split a home-and-home series with Detroit over the weekend, losing Friday's road portion against the Red Wings 4-3 in a shootout before taking Sunday's wild 6-5 overtime decision at the Verizon Center.

Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal 2:37 into overtime to lift the Capitals to Sunday's entertaining matinee battle in D.C. Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith was called for tripping at the 1:26 mark of the extra session. The Capitals moved the puck around and John Carlson fed Ovechkin for a one-timer from the left circle.

Ovechkin has scored seven times over his last nine games and he is leading the NHL with 39 goals. His next goal will give Ovechkin 40 or more markers in a season for the sixth time in his career and for the first time since he posted 50 in 2009-10.

Joel Ward registered two goals and one assist on Sunday and Jason Chimera added a goal and two helpers for the Capitals, who overcame blowing a trio of two-goal leads to win for the third time in their last 12 games.

"We came out great and they never gave up; they are a really good hockey team," said Washington head coach Adam Oates.

Michal Neuvirth picked up the win despite surrendering five goals on 30 shots.

The Capitals expect to be without defenseman Mike Green for a third straight game after he suffered a concussion last week against Columbus. Green tried to practice on Monday, but he left for the dressing room after 10 minutes.

Washington forwards Mikhail Grabovski (sprained left ankle), Brooks Laich (groin), Eric Fehr (lower body) and Aaron Volpatti (upper body) are also questionable for tonight's contest.

The Caps, who are three points out of a playoff spot in the East, are 2-0 against the Islanders this season and have won three straight and five of the past seven games in this series. Washington is 8-2-1 in the past 11 encounters in D.C.

02/04 10:53:13 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
 
Final
CLE 98
ATL 127
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
DET 106
DAL 117
Final
BOS 109
ORL 92
Final
MIA 87
UTA 105
Final
TOR 105
BRK 89
Final
SAN 116
MEM 117
Final
POR 104
MIL 97
Final
DEN 111
HOU 115
Final
LAC 102
IND 100
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
HOU
NOP
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
OKC
 
Final
UNT 78
LANG 65
 
Final
Terriers 64
DELST 72
 
Final
MSST 55
ARKST 69
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
GMAS 99
CATAWBA 69
 
Final
WOFF 64
CSOU 58
 
Final
HIGH 106
FERR 48
 
Final
JVU 68
GWEBB 65
 
Final
ILL 73
HAMP 55
 
Final
BST 52
JMU 72
 
Final
YOUNG 84
KNST 90
 
Final
UMO 71
LONG 60
 
Final
PITT 65
MAN 56
Final
OSU 97
NCAT 55
Final
FSU 93
UNF 77
 
Final
TOL 83
RMU 57
 
Final
CAMP 70
SIUE 65
 
Final
DUQ 52
RFLSH 67
 
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
UCF 75
DET 70
Final
UNCW 73
LIB 70
 
Final
LOYC 83
ABCHRIST 44
 
Final
MURST 94
ALCOR 56
 
Final
HOU 56
ARKPB 61
 
Final
NW 67
CMICH 80
Final
WKENT 75
CHIST 60
 
Final
ODU 58
UGST 54
Final
SMU 67
ILLCH 46
Final
LALAF 115
MLGN 76
 
Final
TULSA 74
MIZST 70
Final
UWGB 66
MORE 50
 
Final
NEOM 92
NCOL 82
 
Final
TTU 101
SCST 39
 
Final
DEN 83
TAMCC 73
 
Final
STEPH 66
TXST 60
 
Final
STLU 75
TXPA 69
 
Final
MEM 83
USCU 73
 
Final
ILLST 64
TENNM 54
 
Final
MSU 66
EMICH 46
Final
GRCN 80
INCWORD 82
 
Final
STAN 67
LMU 58
Final
BAY 66
NMST 55
 
Final
CIN 71
SDST 62
Final
AUB 80
WINT 62
 
Final
NMU 76
CARK 55
 
Final
PEPP 53
HOW 45
 
Final
CPSL 60
NE 58
 
Final
UNLV 75
PORT 73
Final
OREG 79
CSNO 56
Final
WASH 86
GRAM 38
12:30pm Today
RICE
STTHOMASTX
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIU
FIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
STET
GSOUT
 
7:00pm Tonight
QUIN
LEH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
RICH
SALA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
DEL
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WCU
WRST
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
YALE
 
7:30pm Tonight
SDKST
IDST
 
7:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
LATU
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAR
APP
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
CCAR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
 
8:00pm Tonight
BRAD
EUREK
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
OAKC
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
SMISS
 
8:30pm Tonight
SD
MNTST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UAB
LSU
 
9:05pm Tonight
EVAN
OHIO
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
CSDH
 
10:00pm Tonight
ORST
DEP
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
NEV
 
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PORST
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
WALLA
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
CALST
 
Final
NJD 0
OTT 2
Final
MIN 2
BOS 3
Final
VAN 0
DAL 2
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
ANA
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
EDM
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
STL
 
8:25pm Tonight
JAC
TEN