Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#451 Washington Capitals vs.
#452 N.Y. Islanders
Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Barclays Center , Brooklyn
Written by Valdis Pans

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After needing a shootout to determine the winner of their previous head-to-head encounter, the New York Islanders (3rd in the East Division) and the Washington Capitals (1st in the East) will once again meet up on Long Island, with the Caps leading their season series 4-2.

Caps Edge Out Islanders

The Washington Capitals (30-13-4) won for the second time in their last three outings (2-1-0) after following up last Sunday’s 6-3 road defeat at the Boston Bruins with a 1-0 shootout triumph against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday. After the Isles tallied in the second round of the skills competition, the Caps responded with back-to-back snipes courtesy of Nicklas Backstrom (14 goals, 47 points this year) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (8 goals, 25 points). Anthony Mantha (15 goals, 26 points) snapped a five-game goal streak, while Alex Ovechkin (24 goals, 42 points) left the game with a lower-body injury (day-to-day).

Goalie Ilya Samsonov (12-3-1 on the season with a 2.65 GAA and a .904 save percentage) stopped 26 shots on Thursday for his second shutout of the season and third of his NHL career. He has posted a 4-2-0 career record against the Islanders with a 2.80 GAA and a .896 save percentage, while Vitek Vanecek (17-9-3 on the year with a 2.77 GAA and a .908 save percentage) is 2-1-0 versus the Isles historically with a 2.47 GAA and a .929 save percentage. The Capitals are 2nd in most goals scored per game this season (3.43), 13th in most goals conceded on average (2.96), 2nd best in power play (26.9%) and 6th in penalty kill (83.7%).

Isles End Winning Run

The New York Islanders (29-13-5) snapped a two-game winning run after starting their current two-game home set against the Washington Capitals with a 1-0 shootout defeat at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday. The Isles killed all three of their penalties and were outshot just by two attempts (28-26), but went 0-for-2 with the man-advantage and failed to find the back of the net throughout the whole outing (excluding the shootout) for the fourth time this season and second in the last four games. Anthony Beauvillier (9 goals, 19 points this year) scored in the tiebreaker for New York, which lost on own ice for the second time in four contests (2-1-1).

Goalie Semyon Varlamov (17-9-4 for the current campaign with a 2.12 GAA and a .926 save percentage) made 28 saves on Thursday for his fifth shutout of the year and 32nd of his NHL career. He has picked up a 6-9-2 past total versus Washington with a 2.65 GAA and a .919 save percentage, while Ilya Sorokin (12-4-1 on the season with a 2.02 GAA and a .922 save percentage) has never faced the Capitals before. The Islanders are netting the 13th lowest quantity of goals per game this year (2.74), while allowing the 2nd lowest amount on the defensive end (2.23). The team is 26th in power play (17.2%) and 8th in penalty kill (82.9%).

Best Bets for this Game

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Currently holding the best home record in the whole league this season (19-2-3), the Islanders are yet to lose consecutive domestic games in 2020-21 and unlikely to do so on Saturday against the Capitals, who have only managed to win just one of three trips to Nassau Coliseum this season, despite failing to score a single goal in 65 minutes of it. In case of a regulation victory, the Isles will overtake Washington for the 1st place in the East Division (if the Pittsburgh Penguins fail to beat the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon). So, the stakes are pretty high for both sides. The Caps, though, have only managed to bank one victory in their last five outings as road underdogs, while New York’s performances following defensively impressive showings have been stellar. The team has recorded 13 victories in its past 17 contests after conceding no more than two snipes in its previous fixture.

Prediction: New York Islanders (-135)

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With just one regulation/overtime goal buried throughout the last two contests between the two teams, it is difficult to envisage a high-scoring bout on Saturday. Seven of the previous nine meetings between the Islanders and the Capitals in New York have already cruised below the set goal-mark, averaging no more than 3.14 tallies per matchup. Six of the most recent seven domestic fixtures of the Isles, meanwhile, have all delivered just a minimal amount of strikes, registering an average of just 3.17 markers per encounter. So, do bet on this one to stay within the limits of just five goals!

Prediction: Under 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans , "Valdis Pans"

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