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Caps host Islanders aiming to extend winning ways

Washington will try aim for a third consecutive victory when it hosts the New York Islanders for tonight's clash at the Verizon Center.

The Capitals are coming off a solid weekend that saw them post consecutive wins for the first time since a three-game streak from Jan. 11-15. Washington beat visiting Montreal, 4-1, on Friday and then posted a 4-2 decision the following night in Toronto.

Washington enters tonight trailing idle Winnipeg by just one point for the eighth and final postseason berth in the East. The Capitals are also three points behind Florida for first place in the Southeast Division. The Panthers play tonight in Toronto.

Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist as Washington raced out to a four- goal lead en route to the victory over the Maple Leafs. Alexander Semin, Jeff Halpern and Keith Aucoin also lit the lamp for the Capitals, while Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves for the win.

"For two periods we did a great job," said Halpern. "I'm sure we'll look at why we gave up so much in the third and made it interesting, but for the most part it was a good game."

Washington has been a much stronger team at home than on the road this season and the Caps are beginning a five-game homestand tonight. They are 20-8-2 as the host compared to an 11-18-3 mark on the road.

The Capitals will try to solve the Islanders tonight after losing both meetings with the team so far this season. Washington had won six straight in the series coming into the 2011-12 campaign and New York snapped a three-game slide in D.C. with a 3-0 victory at the Verizon Center on Jan. 17.

The Islanders are running out of time to break into the Eastern Conference playoff conversation. With just 20 games remaining, New York is seeded 13th in the conference and is eight points out of the East's final postseason berth.

New York has lost three of its last four games and was dealt a 5-2 loss Sunday in Ottawa at the start of a four-game road trip. The Isles led 1-0 after the first period, but the Senators took control of the game with two power-play goals in the second stanza.

P.A. Parenteau finished with a goal and an assist for the Isles, while John Tavares scored and Travis Hamonic added a pair of helpers in the loss. Evgeni Nabokov was tagged for four goals on 23 shots in defeat.

"Obviously they got a couple power-play goals in the second period," Tavares said. "So that gave them the lead and a lot of confidence, we just couldn't fight all the way back."

New York has lost its last three road tests and is 12-14-3 away from Long Island this season. The Isles will also visit Philadelphia and Boston to complete this swing.