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New York Islanders Playoff Series Preview: Washington Capitals

from: Pat Lafontaine scored one of the most memorable goals in Isles' history, the Easter Epic game winner against Washington in 1987

Pat Lafontaine scored one of the most memorable goals in Isles’ history, the Easter Epic game winner against Washington in 1987

The New York Islanders and Washington Capitals have quite the playoff history, and much of it is positive from the New York perspective.

On April 19th, 1987 the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals had played over 7 games and 4 overtimes and were all knotted up in an epic first round series.  Pat Lafontaine scored in that overtime in a game that began on Easter Eve, and ended 2:00 Easter morning.  The Islanders took the series on the goal.

The last time these two met was in the Islanders last successful playoff season when they took down the Caps 4-2 in 1993.  That series is best remembered for the cheap shot Dale Hunter put on Pierre Turgeon after Turgeon shocked the Caps with the series clinching goal.

This year, the two old rivals meet in the first round again in a series that has all the earmarks of what could be a classic.

It is a match-up of the 4th and 5th seeds in the East, so the teams are quite even.  Add in star power as the Capitals boast one of the game’s greats in Alex Ovechkin and the Islanders have a young star in John Tavares who enters the series on a red hot goal-scoring streak having scored in 4 of the past 5 games, and the last 3 in a row.

Another added element is the Islanders’ starting goaltender is Jaroslav Halak who spent part of last season in Washington.  Garth Snow brought him to the Island as what he thought of as the missing piece.

New York could  have had home ice in this series but lost with it all on the table in the season’s final game on Saturday night.

The Islanders will have to contend with the first two games on the road, and four of the seven on the road should this series should go the full length.

The Isles however have been a good road team for two straight seasons, and may feel less pressure travelling to Washington.  In the four game regular season series, New York won 2 and Washington won 2 all series wins for both teams happened on home ice, but that really isn’t an indicator of how this series may go.

The Islanders haven’t won a playoff series since 1993 and haven’t won a Stanley Cup since lifting their fourth straight cup in 1983.

To draw from the 4 regular season games, 3 went to overtime so the teams are evenly matched at least in the regular season.

New York bolstered its lineup with playoff experience with the additions of Tyler Kennedy at the deadline, and defensemen Johnny Boychuck and Nick Leddy in the preseason and hope those three help guide the team to a playoff series win.

If you’re looking to catch the Islanders during their final playoff run at Nassau Coliseum, make sure to purchase tickets from  You can also check out Hipmunk for great deals on cheap airline tickets from New York to Washington D.C. Round trip flights range from $300-450, depending on when you leave. You can also find cheap hotels near the Verizon Center with rooms starting at $86.


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