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SEEN AND HEARD AT VERIZON CENTER

The New York Islanders hit the bottom last year, but there are signs the long-struggling franchise is on its way back. Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau can see some similarities between this group and the Washington teams from just before he became the bench boss.

“In their work ethic and their willingness to want to work to get better, I would say yes,” Boudreau said. “All of the Caps guys at that point - even if they were losing - that’s the one thing everybody lauded was, the work ethic of the Caps. Eventually, they get into better players and they keep the work ethic and they become a better team.”

Much like the Caps had some young, talented players in place (think Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Brooks Laich), the Islanders have several young talents for their fans to dream on. That includes the top line of first-round picks John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and early season surprise Matt Moulson.

Tavares (four goals, eight points) and Okposo (two goals, eight points) are expected to be franchise cornerstones, but Moulson (six goals, 10 points) has fit nicely with childhood friend Tavares.

“Matt Moulson put on 10 pounds and lost 10 percent body fat, so he’s quicker and bigger and stronger than he was in [the American Hockey League]. He could always score,” Boudreau said. “Okposo is a first-round pick who is going to be a real good player if he isn’t already, and Tavares is a guy with skills that befit a No. 1 guy overall. They’re not as good as they’re going to be a year from now, but they’re pretty good right now.”

Corey Masisak

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Categories in which Alex Ovechkin ranked first in the NHL — goals (13), points (22), plus-minus (plus-11, tied with Pittsburgh’s Alex Goligoski) and shots (78) — entering Friday’s games.

THREE STARS

John Tavares

OK, the kid is a keeper — made the play when it mattered and was everywhere

Tomas Fleischmann

Needed two games to outscore 11 teammates with at least six games played

Dwayne Roloson

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