New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals NHL Preview and Free Pick
The New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals kick-off a best-of-seven series in the opening round of this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs this Wednesday night at the Verizon Center. Game time for this Metro Division clash is set for 7 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on USA.
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The Islanders appeared to run out of steam down the stretch with just six wins in their final 19 games after setting the pace in the Metro Division for most of the season. They did rally a bit to win three of their final six outings, but ended things on a sour note with a 5-4 loss to Columbus this past Saturday as -155 home favorites. The total has gone OVER in four of their last six games.
New York will look to get off to a fast start Wednesday night behind a potent offensive attack that ended the season ranked fourth in the league in scoring with an average of 3.0 goals a game. The Islanders actually raised this average to 3.6 goals over their last six games, so they do know how to still light the lamp. The issue during this end of the season slide has been a defense that has fallen to 23rd in the NHL in goals allowed (2.7).
Washington picked-up some steam heading into the playoffs with five wins in its last seven games, but it did fall to the rival New York Rangers 4-2 as a -150 favorite at home in its season finale. The total has gone OVER in six of its last eight games. The Capitals start this best-of-seven series with four wins in their last six home games. On the year, they went 23-13-5 on their home ice.
Balance has been the key to Washington's success this season. It has an offense that was ranked sixth in scoring with 2.9 goals per game complementing a defense that was ranked seventh in goals allowed (2.4). The Capitals were the best team in the league this season on the power play with a conversion rate of 25.3 percent. Left winger Alex Ovechkin led the way in scoring with a team-high 53 goals and 28 assists.
The Islanders are 2-6 in their last eight division games and they are 2-8 in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed UNDER in nine of their last 14 games against a team with a winning record.
The Capitals are 8-2 in their last 10 games against the Eastern Conference, but they are just 1-4 in their last five games in the opening round of the playoffs. The total has gone OVER in three of their last five home games.
The home team in this matchup has won the last four games and the total has stayed UNDER in eight of the last 10 games played in Washington.
NY Islanders vs. Washington Pick
New York has been a hard team to bet on lately as far as wins and losses, but it still knows how to put the puck in the net. The Capitals have averaged over three goals a game in their last nine outings to set the stage for a possible shootout on Wednesday night. I like Washington to get the win at home, but my top pick in this one is the OVER on the total line.