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Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
NHL: Saturday, January 18, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, 1:00 PM ET
The Metropolitan Division showdown at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale will see the Washington Capitals take on the New York Islanders for the third time this season. The series is tied at the moment, as each team has been victorious away from home. The Caps beat the Islanders 2-1 as +100 road dogs in Week 1, but they lost 4-3 as -175 home favorites on New Year’s Eve.
Washington is the best team in the NHL at the moment while topping the Metropolitan Division six points ahead of Pittsburgh. The Islanders are sitting right behind the Penguins, trailing nine points behind the Capitals.
The Capitals easily got payback against the DevilsAfter the last week’s 5-1 defeat to the New Devils, the Capitals bounced back with a couple of straight wins over Carolina 2-0 and New Jersey 5-1. The Caps got payback Thursday night and had an easy job against the Devils thanks to Alex Ovechkin who recorded his 25th career hat-trick. Ovechkin scored the first two goals of the game, and the Caps had a 3-0 lead after just 16 seconds of play into the second period. The Devils cut the deficit with two straight goals, but Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin sealed the win in the third period.
Ovechkin has netted 31 goals thus far, becoming the second player ever to score 30 or more goals in each of his first 15 NHL seasons. He needs two more goals to surpass Mario Lemieux at the 10th spot of the all-time list. Alex has scored seven goals over his last five outings.
"It never gets old, but without my team, without my teammates, I'd never reach that milestone, I'd never reach those numbers," Ovechkin said. "Lemieux was one of my idols when I'm growing up. I get lucky I have a time to play against him, was on the ice with him a couple times. It's huge."
The Islanders suffered another loss to the RangersThe New York Islanders are coming off a 3-2 home loss to the New York Rangers this past Thursday, recording the second loss to their city rivals in just four days. Back on Monday, the Rangers thrashed off the Islanders 6-2 at home. Meanwhile, the Islanders routed the Detroit Red Wings 8-2 as heavy -245 home favorites. However, the second straight loss to the Rangers was painful, especially because the game was tied with 30 seconds left on the clock in the third period.
"I thought we played well for the most part," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We made a poor decision at the end and they capitalized on it."
After a terrific start of the season, the Islanders are obviously in crisis, losing eight of their previous 13 games overall. Semyon Varlamov started nine times in that span, while he’s lost three straight games. Varlamov is 15-7-4 this season with a 2.50 GAA and a .918 save percentage, while Thomas Greiss is 13-7-0 and has a 2.54 GAA and a .921 save percentage. After Varlamov’s three consecutive defeats, Greiss could get the starting nod against the Caps.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: Washington:
- 4-7 in the last 11 road games against the Metropolitan Division
- 13-7 in the last 20 games at home
- 10-4 in the last 14 outings as underdogs
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Islanders are undoubtedly playing in a poor form. They’ve lost six of the last eight games at home and are winless in three straight home contests against division rivals. However, I think the Islanders will upset the Capitals. They’ve lost four straight home encounters with the Caps and will be fired up to bounce back, especially after those pair of losses to the Rangers. The Islanders are still one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowing just 2.63 goals per game (6th in the NHL). On the other side, the Caps have dropped three of their last four games on the road including a surprising defeat at the New Jersey Devils.
Prediction: New York Islanders (+105)
Full-Game Total Pick
As I’ve mentioned, the Islanders surrender just 2.63 goals per contest. If they want to beat the best team in the league, the Islanders will have to bring their best defensive game. Their goaltenders are fourth in the NHL in save percentage (.917), so whoever guards the cage for the Islanders, the Caps will have a tall task in this one. Five of the last six encounters between the Capitals and Islanders went in the under, as well as five of the previous six meetings in New York. Furthermore, the under has hit in four of the Islanders’ previous five outings at home, so I think they will be able to slow down the Caps.
Prediction: Under 5.5 goals (+105)