The Washington Capitals and visiting New York Islanders both will be looking to rebound from shaky performances when they meet Monday night.
The Capitals turned in one of their worst efforts of the season Saturday as the Philadelphia Flyers handed them a 7-2 defeat. The Flyers scored three goals in both the second and third periods to break open a close game.
The Capitals had a number of defensive breakdowns and turnovers, which led to numerous Philadelphia scoring chances. Washington coach Todd Reirden pulled struggling starting goalie Braden Holtby after he gave up the seventh goal early in the third period.
"I didn't like what we did," defenseman John Carlson said, according to the Capitals' official website. "(Holtby) has been there for us his whole career, and certainly tonight we didn't give him anything to work with. He kept it as close as humanly possible for as long as possible."
Alex Ovechkin also had his first chance to make history. He came into the game just two goals away from 700 in his career. The milestone didn't happen as the Washington offense had no spark, and the Flyers were determined to not let Ovechkin become a factor.
He will try again Monday, going against former coach Barry Trotz and the Islanders. Ovechkin already has 40 goals this season, including 16 in his last 11 games over one of the hottest stretches of his career.
He is trying to become just the eighth player in NHL history to reach 700 goals.
The Capitals have a decision to make in goal. Holtby played well in his previous game, a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, but has been struggling for several weeks. Ilya Samsonov could be in goal after getting 12 minutes of ice time Saturday.
Samsonov is 16-3-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average in his rookie season and had recently cleared the concussion protocol.
The Islanders are coming off a similar performance in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road.
That snapped a five-game point streak for New York and left the team 4-4-2 in its last 10 games. Trotz thought his team could have done more on offense against the high-powered Lightning attack and would like to see an improvement.
"We've got to be a little more determined to get to the net," Trotz told reporters after the game. "We did a lot of good things. We were one puck away."
Even though the Islanders couldn't do much on offense, they still extended a few point streaks.
Derick Brassard now has four points in the past three games while Anthony Beauvillier has six points in his past five contests and 11 in his last nine games. Brassard scored the team's lone goal in the loss versus Tampa Bay.
Monday will be the last game of a brief two-game road trip for New York, which then will come back home to play the Flyers at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night for the second part of a back-to-back set.
--Field Level Media