Mikhail Grabovski is nearing a return from an upper body injury, which forced him to miss the final 23 regular season games and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
According to Grabovski’s agent, Gary Greenstin, Grabovski is “very close” to returning from an upper body injury suffered on Feb. 19 in a game against the Nashville Predators.
Grabovski left the Islanders 5-2 win over the Preds after a hit from Eric Nystrom.
The 31-year-old, who had nine goals and 19 points in 51 games this season, was placed on injured reserve the following day.
The Islanders will look to take a 2-0 lead on the Washington Capitals when the series resumes on Friday night.
The numbers say that the New York Islanders ran away with Game 1 against the Washington Capitals in a 4-1 win. Apparently the eye test said the same thing to the Capitals.
Or would you call it the odometer, instead? Brooks Laich ranked among the Washington players who believed that the Isles skated his team out of the Verizon Center, as the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt reports.
“The result is that we looked like a slow team,” Laich said.
Several Capitals expressed that belief, according to CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley.
Speed wasn’t the only concern, mind you. There were more generic worries about “compete level” and likely other cliches you’d expect after a fairly one-sided bout.
On the bright side, the Caps aren’t overreacting to a tough loss, either.
The outlook for a long series wouldn’t seem so optimistic if Washington doesn’t put a better effort forward in Game 2 on Friday, though.
Five years ago, Jaroslav Halak frustrated the Washington Capitals to a stunning first-round loss. He has a lot more help this time around with the 2014-15 New York Islanders, yet you can forgive some Caps fans if Wednesday brought back bad memories.
The Islanders topped the Capitals 4-1 to take a 1-0 series lead, and while Brock Nelson’s second goal inflated the difference in the form of an empty-netter, the Islanders looked awfully impressive.
In fact, they carried much of the play, as you can see from this Natural Stat Trick graph:
The Islanders didn’t really see their play drop off much, even when they had a comfortable lead. That has to be a wake-up call for Washington, and perhaps a message to the rest of the East: a team that looked like a powerhouse may not be slumping as much as some think.
It’s hard to imagine Alex Ovechkin being kept off the scoreboard every night, mind you, although it will be interesting to see if Barry Trotz continues to try to get balanced offense by splitting him from common running mate Nicklas Backstrom.
The two teams meet again for Game 2 at the Verizon Center on Friday, so the Caps need to shake off this setback or they’ll be in quite the early hole.