New York Islanders at Washington Capitals

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The New York Islanders are unstoppable at this point of time. New York has won nine straight and bolted to the top of the East division at 19-6-4 with 42 points. The Islanders lead the Washington Capitals by four points and the Pittsburgh Penguins by 7 points. New York’s most recent victory was a 3-2 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday and the Islanders defeated New Jersey in 3 consecutive games.

Washington will be playing its second game in two days when hosting the New York Islanders Tuesday after playing in upstate New York on Monday against the Buffalo Sabres. Washington has won four straight and eight of the last nine and is coming off a two-game sweep over the Philadelphia Flyers in which the Capitals were victorious 5-3 and 5-4. Washington is 17-6-4 with 38 points three points ahead of third-place Pittsburgh. This was written prior to Monday night’s game.

Semyon Varlamov is Tough to Beat

The New York Islanders are allowing an average of 2.17 goals per game which is first in the NHL. The league’s leading goals-against average is thanks to No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov who is 13-4-3 in 20 games this season with a 2.03 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Varlamov has posted three shutouts this season. Backup Ilya Sorokin is no slouch as Sorokin is 6-2-1 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .910 save percentage with two shutouts. New York leads the NHL in shutouts with five. The Islanders penalty-kill unit is holding opponents scoreless 82.6% of the time when shorthanded.

In the attack zone, the Islanders are scoring an average of 2.90 goals per game, but the power-play unit has been somewhat below average scoring only 19.8% of the time with the man advantage. New York’s leading goal scorers are Anders Lee (out for the season) and Brock Nelson with 12 apiece, while three other players have scored nine. Nick Leddy is leading the Islanders in assists with 17, while Mathew Barzal is the overall points leader for New York with 24 on nine goals and 15 assists. New York has scored only 16 power-play goals this season.

Injury Report: Noah Dobson is out indefinitely, while Anders Lee has been lost for the season.

Capitals giving up too much in their own end

Washington is second in the East division, but the Capitals are giving up far too many goals at a rate of 3.15 per game and must improve play at the blue line, in front of goal as well as in goal. Washington’s No. 1 goalie Vitek Vanecek is 11-5-3 with a 2.88 goals-against average and .904 save percentage. Backup Ilya Samsonov is 5-0-1 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. Washington’s power-play unit is holding opponents scoreless 81.4% of the time while shorthanded.

The Capitals are scoring plenty of goals and the power-play unit has been strong as Washington averages 3.41 goals per game and is scoring 26.9% of the time with the man advantage. Nicklas Backstrom, Jakub Vrana, and Alex Ovechkin each have scored 10 goals for Washington. Backstrom is the leader in assists with 20, while John Carlson has 18 and Backstrom is the overall leader in points with 30 while Carlson is second with 24. The Capitals have scored 18 goals on the power play.

Injury Report: Michal Kempny is out until early May, while Beck Malenstyn is out until July, and Brian Pinho is out indefinitely.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

Although the New York Islanders lost Anders Lee, who was tied for the team-lead in goals scored with 10, to a season-ending knee injury, the Islanders should not be affected. New York has a balanced scoring attack and Brock Nelson, who has tied Lee as the teams leading goal scorer, will step up his game. New York has one of the best goalies in the NHL in Semyon Varlamov who has a goals against average of only 2.03 and has posted the second-most shutouts in the NHL with three. New York has won seven of the last nine meetings against the Capitals played on Washington’s home ice and the visiting team (NYI) in this matchup has won 12 of the last 15 meetings. Washington will be playing its second game in as many days and that could affect the Capitals against the excellent, strong, and physical blue line of the Islanders.

New York Islanders -110

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Full-Game Total Pick

Any game that the New York Islanders play has a high probability of finishing under in the goal total. The Islanders are allowing only 2.17 goals per game and score an average of 2.90 goals per game. New York is without Anders Lee, who is tied for the team lead in goals scored. The total has finished under in three of the last five games between these two with one of the games ending in a push. The Islanders have seen the total finish under in 34 of the last 53 played on the road.