The Washington Capitals stay on the east coast for Monday night, with a trip to Brooklyn to face the Islanders. They don’t have to go very far after a 5-3 win over the Rangers on Friday. The win paved the way for their fifth win in a row. What hangover? Up until this nice little run they’re on, the Capitals haven’t looked like a complete team on the ice. Certainly not a team who just won a Stanley Cup in April. They were getting trashed defensively, with Holtby getting hit with a barrage of action around his net. It was on Holtby as well.
He didn’t get off to a particularly hot start in net either, so it added up to an average start for the defending champions. If people needed a reminder that they are going to be in the fold in the spring, this spurt has given them that. They’ve advanced to 13-7-2 during the five-game winning streak, so still well off pace of what they are capable of doing.
Holtby has played a role in getting the Capitals back on track. When it comes down to it, the Capitals will fall and rise with the play of Holtby. They had a nice system last season, where Philipp Grubauer would fill in when Holtby needed a break. With Phoenix Copley as the backup, there isn’t the same amount of reliability now, though. Copley got the nod in net against the Rangers and he got ample goal support in a 5-3 victory. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Islanders pick.
Washington Capitals vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
The Capitals haven’t had any issues scoring the puck this season. They’ve been without Oshie and Kuznetsov, but it hasn’t mattered much. There are still other goal scorers on this roster who can carry the weight. Ovechkin has already tallied 17 goals and 10 assists, with 27 points. John Carlson and Backstrom are right behind with 25 points. With the amount of talent they have, it was only a matter of time before they broke out of the funk and got going, even without Oshie and Kuztensov.
If Holtby can keep playing sharp in net, look for them to go on an even bigger run. Holtby hasn’t allowed more than 3 goals since November 3rd, and just one game in which he allowed more than 2 goals. So, in five of his last six appearances, he has allowed 2 or less goals. He’s gotten his GAA down to 2.86 after a fairly poor start to the year.
Overall, the Capitals have surrendered 3.13 goals per game, though just 2.4 in their previous ten games. During their five-game winning streak, they’ve scored 4 goals per game while allowing 2.4 goals. The Islanders enter Monday with a record of 4-2 in their previous four games.
They have a couple of wins in a row over the Hurricanes and Devils. They will see an uptick in talent tonight with the Capitals in town. The Isles know all about that, as the Caps have scored 13 goals on them in their last two meetings, a 7-3 and 6-3 win in favour of the defending champions. With Holtby playing his best hockey of the year thus far, he should be the difference maker in this contest. It’s difficult to fade a Washington team on a decent price who look to have finally found a groove.