#55 New York Islandersvs.#56 Washington Capitals
Written by David Hess
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 15, 2016
Where: Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Lines: Washington -160/ New York +144
Tonight’s NHL action takes us to the Nation’s Capital as the New York Islanders grapple with the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. The Islanders are off a 5-3 loss at the Rangers, while the Capitals took a hard fought 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh in their first game of the year. Washington won three of the four meetings between the teams last year.
The New York islanders really have the feel of a mediocre team this year and their season didn’t start out well as they fell 5-3 to the Rangers on Thursday night. The Islanders did sweep the rangers last year for the first time in the history of the series, but the Rangers got a bit of revenge in this one. The game was 2-0 in favor of the Rangers heading to the 3rd period, but the Isles scored two quick goals to tie the game. The Rangers then took over by scoring the next three goals, before the Isles scored late to make the final 5-3. Scoring for the Isles in the game was Nick Leddy, Brock Nelson, and Cal Clutterbuck.
Taking the loss in the game was Jaroslav Halak, who saved 34 of the 38 shots he faced. Last year Halak was 18-13-4 with a 2.30 GAA, including 9-8-3 with a 2.46 GAA on the road, while vs the Capitals in his career he has gone 6-6 with a 2.73 GAA. Last year the Islanders ranked 11th in the league in scoring at 2.77 gpg, while also ranking 18th in shots taken (29.4 spg) and 17th in power play conversions, converting on 18.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they ranked 13th in goals allowed, giving up 2.57 gpg, while also ranking 20th in shots allowed (30.4) and 4th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.5% of their chances.
It was a night that the Penguins were getting their rings and celebrating last year’s Stanley Cup Title, so there was plenty of emotion in the game. The Caps were also seeking revenge for last year’s playoff loss to the Pens tried to take that emotion away from Pittsburgh quickly as they scored just 59 seconds into the game, but they couldn’t keep it up and Pitt scored the next two goals, before the Caps scored in the middle of the 3rd to tie the games. Pittsburgh eventually won the game in a shootout. There was a lot for the Caps to overcome and they just couldn’t on this night. They did get off 41 shots in the game and won faceoff battle by a count of 41-28, but just couldn’t get enough by Marc-Andre Fleury to win the game. Scoring for the Caps in the game was Andre Burakovsky, who notched both goals for them.
Taking the loss was Braden Holtby, who faced 30 shots in the game and stopped 28 of them. Holtby had a great year last year as he was 48-9-7 with a 2.20 GAA, including 25-3-3 with a 2.15 GAA at home, while vs the Islanders in his career he has gone 10-1-3 with a 2.21 GAA. Last year the Capitals ranked 2nd in the league in scoring at 3.02 gpg, while also ranking 7th in shots taken (30.6 spg) and 5th in power play conversions, converting on 21.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they were very strong as they ranked 2nd in goals allowed, giving up 2.33 gpg, while also ranking 6th in shots allowed (28.4) and 2nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 14.8% of their chances.
New York is:
Have to go with the Caps here as they are off a tough loss and were very tough to beat at home. Braden Holtby was outstanding at home last year and he is 10-1-3 in his career vs the Islanders, while Halak is just 6-6 with a 2.73 GAA in his career vs the Capitals. The Capitals are the clear play here and if the line gets a bit too high then don’t hesitate to play them on the puckline. They are a bit upset after their opening loss to the Pens and will get back on track with a solid win here.
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