The Washington Capitals take the short trip to Brooklyn, where the Islanders will be waiting for their challenge. The Capitals looked like they were stuck in mud to open the season, but they’ve been starting to open things up, and are currently on a four-game winning streak. They’ve also 7-1-0 in their last eight games. This recent romp has brought their record to 18-11-1 on the year.
They didn’t look very much like the Capitals early on, but they’re starting to look like an Alexander Ovechkin led team of late. Despite their struggles as a team early, Ovechkin was not in a slump. Ovi was producing at a high level, but the rest of his team wasn’t really carrying the lead. He is 1st in the NHL with 21 goals, so he is more than carrying the weight, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as he gets older.
The next closest Capital in goal scoring is Evgeny Kuznetsov who is 59th in the league. So, there is, needless to say, a heavy drop-off from Ovechkin to the rest of his teammates. It’s usually the case, though, as Ovechkin loves to torch nets on fire. In seven out of twelve years he scored more than 50 goals. Between 2013-2016, Ovechkin scored more than 50 goals in three straight years.
He tailed off with 33 goals last year, but with 21 goals already, Ovechkin is primed for a monster season. His goaltender, Braden Holtby, hasn’t gotten off to nearly as hot of a start as him. It’s not typical for Holtby who regularly ranks statistically among the top netminders in the league. He’s seen a bit of a turnaround lately, but if the Capitals keep scoring at this clip, Holtby can afford to have a few iffy nights at the office. Let’s get straight to our Capitals vs. Islanders pick below, as we seek our 10th win in a row in the NHL.
Washington Capitals vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
The Isles enter the new week with a healthy record of 16-10-2. John Tavares is one of the more underrated players in the NHL, as he quietly goes about his business putting up impressive numbers. Tavares heads into Monday night with 17 goals and 14 assists on the year. On a team that allows a lot of goals, his +/- rating of 2 isn’t too shabby either. Allowing goals is really the problem in Brooklyn. Give them a good defence, and we’d see them as a real contender. However, the Islanders are allowing 3.38 goals per game, 29th in the NHL. Despite being 2nd in the league with 3.5 goals scored on average, their defence is holding them back. They remind me a lot of the Dallas Stars from a few years ago, all offence and no defence.
They should have a heck of a time trying to contain the Capitals’ offence. The Caps are averaging 3.07 goals per game, with their best hockey being played lately. Note that they’ve averaged 3.6 goals per game in their last ten. Additionally, they’ve netted 4.5 goals per game in their last four games. The Isles have allowed 3.7 goals per in their last ten. They’ve allowed 4 or more goals in more than half of those games. Thomas Greiss enters with a horrendous 0.89 save percentage and 3.79 GAA. Naturally, the Islanders have played to the OVER this season, as they’ve gone 19-9 in that regard. The Caps are 17-13 to the OVER. They met in November which resulted in a 4-3 final for the Capitals. I expect a similar game tonight in Brooklyn. I’d hop on the OVER for your Monday NHL action.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)