The NHL is set up with an action packed night of hockey on Tuesday night. Eight games are up on the board throughout April 27. One of these matchups will be between the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals. These two teams have been strong this season and will look for a big two points. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
New York has earned a record of 29-14-5 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in third place of the East Division. The Islanders have lost back to back games and four of their last six. New York is four points back on the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the East. The Islanders will look to move up with a big win in this one.
The Capitals have put up a record of 31-13-4 throughout this season, which has them in second place of the East Division. Washington has won two in a row and six of their last eight games. The Capitals are one point back on Pittsburgh and will look to jump them for that top spot in this one. Washington will look to keep their strong stretch going on Tuesday night.
These two teams are competing with the Penguins for the top spot in the East Division. This very well could be a first round matchup, which should lead to an exciting tilt in this one. The Islanders have struggled a bit as of late, while Washington has been hot. Both teams will look to jump out to an early lead in this one to control the pace of the game.
The Islanders and the Capitals have met up twice throughout this season. Washington hosted the first two games on January 26 and 28. John Carlson and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist in the first meeting to lead Washington to a 3-2 win. Conor Sheary scored twice in the second game, while John Carlson and Zdeno Chara both had a goal and an assist. The Capitals earned a big 6-3 win at home.
The next three games of the season series were all single games spread throughout. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin both had a goal and an assist in the third game to lift Washington to a 3-1 win. Mathew Barzal had three goals and two assists as New York bounced back with an 8-4 win in the fourth game. Brock Nelson scored the lone goal in the fifth game to lift the Islanders to a 1-0 win.
New York hosted the sixth and seventh game of the season series recently. Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov both scored in the shootout of the sixth game. Ilya Samsonov stopped all 26 shots he faced as the Capitals won 1-0 in a shootout. Daniel Sprong had two goals and Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists in the seventh game as Washington won 6-3.
The Capitals have been solid against New York this season, winning five of the seven games against the Islanders. New York will look to bounce back in this one as they try to wipe away the two game losing streak they are on. The Islanders will need to slow down Washington’s offense in this one if they want a chance to pull off a big win.
The Islanders have struggled on the power play throughout this season. New York has scored on 24 of their 130 power play attempts, which is an 18.5 percent power play. The Islanders have been solid on the penalty kill though. New York has killed off 98 of their opponents 118 power play chances, which is an 83.1 percent kill rate.
Washington has been dangerous on both sides of special teams so far this season. The Capitals have capitalized on 35 of their 131 power play opportunities, which is a 26.7 percent success rate. Washington has given up 25 power play goals on 143 penalties against, which is an 82.5 percent penalty kill. The Capitals will look to keep up their special teams’ success in this one.
The Capitals have had the better power play throughout this season, but New York has a slight edge on the penalty kill. Another thing that may give the Islanders the edge is that New York has had a lot less penalties against. If the Islanders can draw a couple of power plays out of Washington and stay out of the box, it could shift the edge to New York.
Semyon Varlamov will likely get the start in the crease for New York in this one. Varlamov has started in 30 games this season, going 17-9-4 through those starts. He has put up a save percentage of .926 and a 2.12 GAA in his games played. Varlamov’s last start was against Washington where he stopped all 28 shots he faced in the shootout loss.
I expect Vitek Vanecek to get the nod in net for the Capitals on Tuesday night. Vanecek has earned a record of 17-9-3 through his games played this season. He has posted a .908 save percentage and a GAA of 2.77 this season. Vanecek finished with 22 saves on 27 shots in his last start against the Boston Bruins, which was not enough for the win.
These two goalies have been solid throughout this season, but Varlamov gives the edge to the Islanders on Tuesday night. Varlamov is coming off a heartbreaking defeat, earning a shutout, but losing in a shootout. Vanecek had a rough outing in his last start and will look to bounce back in this one. If either goalie can get into a groove early, it could lead their team to the win.
Washington has had the Islanders number throughout this season, but I think New York will bounce back with a win in this one. The Islanders have been a strong team this season and with the Capitals potentially missing Ovechkin again, New York could take advantage. I think Varlamov will come out hot once again to help lead the Islanders to the win.
BetOnline has Washington listed as a -118 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Capitals will win this game around 54.1 percent of the time. I think that this line should be closer to even with how well the Islanders have played this season. New York is coming off back to back losses, but I think they will bounce back. I am taking the Islanders as underdogs in this one.