The NHL is set up with another great day of action on Friday as the round of sixteen continues. Five games will be up on the board throughout August 14, including a matchup between the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals. These two teams met up in a great Game 1 and I expect that to continue into Game 2. The puck will drop at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
New York earned a record of 35-23-10 throughout the regular season, which put them in seventh place of the Eastern Conference. The Islanders met up with the Florida Panthers in the Qualifying round and were able to win the series 3-1. New York now has a solid 1-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals and will look to extend that series lead.
The Capitals had earned a record of 41-20-8, which earned them the third place spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington was able to go 1-1-1 throughout the round robin, which kept them in the third seed of the East. The Capitals fell to the Islanders in the first game of this series, but expect them to bounce back to tie up the series.
These two teams have played a solid Game 1 and I expect them to come out strong in Game 2 of this series. Washington had a solid lead in Game 1, but gave the Islanders a chance to get back into it. These two teams have done well this season and will look to try and earn a big Game 2 win to tie up the series or take a 2-0 series lead.
The Islanders and the Capitals both met up four times throughout the season. The first game was hosted by New York, where Washington was able to win off of a goal by T.J. Oshie. Ilya Samsonov stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced in the 2-1 win for the Capitals. The second game shifted to Washington, where Casey Cizikas scored twice to help give the Islanders a 4-3 win.
The third game of the season series shifted back to New York on January 18. The Islanders jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but an Alex Ovechkin hat trick helped the Capitals come back to win 6-4. Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each earned four assists in the fourth game of the season series. Anthony Beauvillier scored twice as the Islanders won 5-3 to tie up the season series.
Game 1 of this series was on August 12. T.J. Oshie opened up the scoring with two goals on the power play in the second period. The Islanders bounced back though. Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson each had two assists, while Josh Bailey scored a goal and an assist. Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced to help give New York a 4-2 win over the Capitals.
These two teams split the regular season series at 2-2 with the away team winning all four games. The first game of the playoff series was hosted in Toronto, where the Islanders were able to battle back after falling down on the scoreboard. Washington will look to have another quick start in this one, but avoid letting the Islanders get back into it.
New York did not have the best special teams throughout the regular season. The Islanders capitalized on 17.3 percent of their power play chances throughout the season. New York was able to kill off 80.7 percent of the power plays against them. In the playoffs, the Islanders have a 20 percent power play and a 71.4 percent kill rate.
The Capitals power play did not have the best regular season either. Washington scored on 19.4 percent of their chances throughout the season, while killing off 82.6 percent of the penalties against them. The Capitals have had a 17.7 percent success rate on the power play in the playoffs. Washington has also not allowed a power play goal against them.
Washington needs to step up their power play a bit if they want to even up this series. The Islanders penalty kill has not been great, which should allow the Capitals to break through. If Washington’s penalty kill can continue to do well, this will give some issues to New York as they have to count on goals from five on five play.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in the crease for New York in this one. Varlamov put up a record of 19-14-6 throughout the regular season. He earned a save percentage of .914 and a 2.62 GAA in those starts. In the playoffs, Varlamov has earned a .930 save percentage and a GAA of 1.81, which has helped the Islanders get to the point that they are in.
The Capitals will have Braden Holtby get the nod in net for Game 2 of this series. Holtby earned a record of 25-14-6 throughout the regular season. He had an off season, posting a .897 save percentage and a 3.11 GAA. Holtby has done a bit better in his four postseason starts. He has put up a save percentage of .907 and a GAA of 2.50.
Washington needs Holtby to step his game up if they want to make a deep run this season. Varlamov has done great since the NHL restarted and the Islanders will lean on him some more against the Capitals. Washington had a great start to Game 1 but got complacent for a bit. I expect the Capitals to keep the pressure on in this one, which will give them a good chance to tie up the series.
Washington lost Game 1 in a tough way, but I expect them to bounce back to tie up this series in Game 2. The Capitals found some groove to their power play in Game 1, which could help them throughout this series. Washington will look to keep some more pressure on New York throughout this matchup. I expect the Capitals to get on the board early and not look back.
BetOnline has Washington listed as a -120 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Capitals will win this game around 54.6 percent of the time. I agree with this line, but there is not a lot of value in it. I believe that Washington will come out quickly and dominate this one as they bounce back from a tough loss. This gives a lot of value to -1 ½ at +200, which makes it my pick of the night.