For Barry Trotz, the Friday night game figures to be emotional.
The New York Islanders coach will be make his return to Washington, where he led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship last season.
"I'm a softie," Trotz said Thursday before the Islanders' 4-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils. "I'll cry during watching 'The Notebook' on TV when it's on. I'm a very emotional-type guy."
The Capitals plan to honor Trotz, who coached the team for four seasons, with a video tribute.
There was no mention of Trotz during the Capitals' Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony before their season opener, but perhaps time has healed some wounds. Trotz resigned over financial differences less than two weeks after the Cup clincher.
"There will be a video tribute to Coach Trotz during the game, and very well deserved, obviously," first-year Capitals coach Todd Reirden said in an interview on 106.7 The Fan. "You can't say enough about Barry and the impact that he had as the head coach. I wouldn't be here in this organization if it wasn't for Barry, so I have a ton of respect for him.
"But that being said, we would really like to use that as a time to respond to our little rough patch here and make sure that we're ready to finish the final four games the right way here before the All-sSar break, so it's an important game for us."
The Capitals have lost three in a row (0-2-1) to drop into a tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Metropolitan Division lead. The Islanders are just one point back.
This won't be the first time the teams have met this season. Trotz received his championship ring and got a chance to address the Capitals in their locker room when the squads played Nov. 26 at Barclays Center in New York. Washington won the game 4-1.
"The first time going into Barclays and actually going into the locker room and seeing the guys for the first time, that was more emotional, probably," Trotz said. "I'll get to say some goodbyes to people I never got a chance to, so from that standpoint it will be real nice. But emotionally I'll be fine."
On Thursday, Anders Lee scored twice as the Islanders improved to 10-2-0 in their past 12 games.
The Capitals have been without goaltender Braden Holtby for the past week, since the blade of Columbus forward Cam Atkinson's stick inadvertently slipped through a hole in Holtby's mask, injuring his left eye.
"It just didn't clear up as quick as we were expecting it to," Holtby told the Washington Post. "It's a decision where you don't really know what it's going to be like in a game. It was a bit of doubt about what it was going to be like. I obviously wasn't close enough to 100 percent where I felt comfortable that it was for the betterment of the team (to play Tuesday)."
Holtby was expected to start Tuesday in Nashville but was unable to go at the last minute. Pheonix Copley started for the second straight night and was shelled in a 7-2 defeat.
"It's been a situation where you don't know exactly how things are going to react until the last minute," Reirden told the Post. "For us in this situation, we'll see how he is (Friday) morning. ... We'll make a decision (Friday) after morning skate and maybe not even until after that. We've got to continue to kind of play this one out, not minute to minute, but fairly close to it being a game-time decision."
--Field Level Media