Capitals

Capitals

After a rare four-day break, the Caps take the ice Thursday as they host the New York Islanders.

Here are three bold predictions:

1. The Caps will trail at the end of the first period

This game has all the makings of a slow start. Washington is coming off an extended layoff and is playing a last place team. For a Capitals team that has struggled at times to get up for their opponents, they may get caught on a sleepy start Thursday.

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2. Jakub Vrana will register an assist, but not a goal

A number of rookies have made an impact right away this season throughout the NHL. Vrana could be the next one, considering he will play on the second line in his NHL debut. Vrana’s skill is his scoring ability, but what got him here is his improved puck possession. Puck distribution was a weakness of his in the preseason and it will not be lost on him that he earned his first NHL call-up after tallying four assists in three games. Vrana would not be the first rookie to defer to his teammates rather than pull the trigger. Plus, it does not appear Vrana will be on the power play which is one of his specialties.

3. Caps will score more than two goals

Thomas Greiss started in net for the Islanders on Wednesday which means Jaroslav Halak is likely to get the start in Washington. Halak has not been able to build on the momentum of his strong performance in the World Cup of Hockey and has managed only a 3.08 GAA and .904 save percentage this season. In 14 games played, he has allowed more than two goals in ten games. Even if the Caps do get off to a sleepy start, the memory of what happened in Toronto will spark them to a strong last 40 minutes.

 

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