Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#59 Washington Capitals -135 vs.
#60 N.Y. Islanders Islanders 5.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 1:00pm EST
Barclays Center , Brooklyn
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of Metropolitan Division teams take the ice in the Big Apple looking to pick up a victory. The Washington Capitals are on the road as they travel to face the New York Islanders Saturday afternoon. Washington hosted New Jersey on Thursday night, rolling to a 5-2 victory. New York hosted the crosstown Rangers as those teams faced off for the second time in four nights Thursday, falling 3-2 on a late goal. The teams have split their last six meetings with the Islanders taking a 4-3 road win in the most recent matchup on December 31, 2019.

Washington Capitals Trying to Extend Metropolitan Division Lead

Washington hosted New Jersey and came up with the home triumph to maintain momentum. The Capitals entered Friday holding a six-point lead over a surging Pittsburgh team in the Metropolitan Division race. Washington is fifth in the league in scoring with 3.50 goals per game this season. The Capitals are 9th in the league in goals against as they allow 2.88 goals per game on the year. Washington is 12th in the league with the man advantage as they cash in 20.8 percent of their power play chances this season. The Capitals are 2nd in penalty killing as they successfully work through 84.4 percent of their shorthanded situations this season.

Against New Jersey, the Capitals rode their big guns to take control of the game and it proved crucial to earning the win. Washington held a 15-9 edge in shots on goal in the first period and took a 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes of play. Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring with his 29th goal of the year at 15:17 off assists from John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom. In the final minute of the period, Ovechkin scored his second of the game and 30th of the year at 19:08 off an assist from Backstrom for a 2-0 lead. The second period saw Washington with a 15-13 edge in shots on goal with each team scoring once to maintain their two-goal edge. Carl Hagelin scored his second of the year at the 16 second mark off assists from Richard Panik and Lars Eller to make it a 3-0 game before New Jersey got on the board less than a minute later. The third period saw the Capitals outshot 12-8 but they outscored New Jersey 2-1 to put the game away. After the Devils made it a 3-2 game, Jakub Vrana restored Washington’s two-goal lead with his 21st goal of the year, unassisted, at 6:42 of the period. Ovechkin closed the scoring with his third of the night and 31st of the season at 15:42 off assists from Tom Wilson and Carlson. Ilya Samsonov was solid in the win, making 32 saves as Washington owned a 38-34 edge in shots on goal. Braden Holtby is expected to get the start in goal here.

New York Islanders Looking to Gain Ground in Division

New York was in action against the crosstown Rangers Thursday night in their previous contest. The Islanders enter this one holding the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, nine points behind the Capitals. New York is 21st in the league in goals for as they average 2.85 goals per contest this season. The Islanders are tied for 5th in goals against by allowing 2.63 goals per game this year. New York is 21st on the power play as they convert 18.3 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Islanders are tied for 17th in the league in penalty killing as they have successfully handled 79.4 percent of their shorthanded situations this season. New York has scored six shorthanded goals on the year.

Goals were hard to come by in the early stages of their game with the Rangers and it made for a tight contest. The opening period saw the Islanders with a commanding 22-5 edge in shots on goal but skated off with just a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Josh Bailey scored his 10th of the year at 19:09 off assists from Ross Johnston and Tom Kuhnhackl to open the scoring. The second period saw the Islanders outshot by a 12-5 margin and outscored 1-0 to tie the game after two periods of play. In the third period, the Islanders held a 13-10 edge in shots but were outscored 2-1 to take the loss, with the winning goal scored with 25 seconds to play. After falling behind 2-1, Anthony Beauvillier tied the game with his 12th of the year at 12:40 off assists from Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson. Semyon Varlamov got the start in goal and recorded 25 saves for New York in the game. The Islanders held a 40-28 edge in shots on goal in the contest. Thomas Greiss is expected to get the call in net here.

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This is a matchup of a pair of teams with different strategies, which is interesting since Barry Trotz coached Washington to the Stanley Cup before taking over the Islanders’ job. New York is a defensive-oriented team while Washington relies on their offense to win games. Of course, when you have Ovechkin, it’s easy to think offense first. The Islanders are at home in this one but their struggles to put the puck in the net consistently is going to be troublesome. Washington has plenty of firepower and that gives them the edge here in a tight game.

Prediction: Washington Capitals -121

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Washington comes into this game sporting a sparkling 17-6-1 road record on the year. In those games, the Capitals own a +12 goal differential (85-73) and a +36 shot differential (746-710) on the year. That's an average of 6.58 goals per game in Washington's games as the visiting team on the year. New York is a solid 15-6-3 on home ice this season. In their home contests, the Islanders have outscored the opposition by 14 goals (76-62) despite being outshot by 30 (752-722) on the year. That's an average of 5.75 goals per game in those outings. This one likely edges just over the number as we see six goals on the board at game's end.

Prediction: Over 5.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.