Capitals Vs. Islanders: Washington Opens Five-Game Road Trip Against New York

March 11, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

The Capitals begin a critical stretch in their push to the playoffs in Long Island against the Islanders. Can they avoid another swoon away from Verizon Center?

The Washington Capitals are entering probably the most critical portion of their schedule this week as they open a five-game road trip against the New York Islanders. The Capitals enter Tuesday's game on a three-game winning streak, which has put them four points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and one point behind Florida Panthers for the lead in the Southeast Division.

The Capitals are 1-2-0 against the Islanders this season, but notched a 3-2 victory at Verizon Center on Feb. 28. Goaltenders Michael Neuvirth and Tomas Voukoun are ready to go according to Capitals coach Dale Hunter, but there has not yet been an announcement as to who will start in goal for the Capitals Tuesday night.

The Capitals look to avoid another three-game swoon as they did the last time they won three straight games. If Alex Ovechkin and the Caps can avoid mistakes and get solid goaltending, they could net a season high fourth straight win away from Verizon Center.

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