The Washington Capitals were on the verge of an early elimination from the 2020 Stanley Cup last Tuesday, but they overcame a two-goal deficit to force Game 5 of their first-round series against the New York Islanders.
After avoiding the sweep, the third-seeded Capitals will try to make this series interesting to watch. Game 5 is set for Thursday, August 20, so we bring you all need-to-know betting tips and trends along with our best betting pick.
The Islanders are coming in full strength. The Capitals miss Ilya Samsonov, and the 23-year-old goaltender went 16-6-2 with a 2.55 GAA this past regular season. Center Nicklas Backstrom will be a game-time decision.
The Islanders are well-known as a tough defensive team, so the bookies expect to see a low-scoring affair. However, keep in mind that the over has hit five of the last seven meetings between the Islanders and Capitals.
What’s at Stake?
The Caps are still in dire straits with their season on the line. The Islanders will have the second chance to clinch the place in the second round.
The Islanders have dominated the Capitals so far. After a 4-2 win in the opener, they thrashed of the Capitals 5-2 in Game 2. The Islanders escaped with a 2-1 overtime win from Game 3, but they couldn’t finish the job Tuesday night, suffering a 3-2 loss.
The Caps were down 2-0 at the end of the 1st period, but they tied the game after just 5:29 of play in the second. Alex Ovechkin netted his second goal of the game 3:40 into the 3rd period which could be a massive boost for the Capitals’ confidence.
Under Barry Trotz, the Islanders take care of their cage first. Semyon Varlamov has started in all four games against the Capitals, and he’s 6-2 with a 1.87 GAA and a .927 save percentage on the postseason.
On the other side, the Capitals lean on their offense that mostly struggled this postseason. Alex Ovechkin has been quiet, tallying a couple of goals and an assist before scoring a brace in Game 4, while Ilya Kovalchuk is still searching for his first goal in the 2020 Stanley Cup.
Braden Holtby will patrol the crease for the Caps, and he’s 2-5 with a 2.55 GAA and a .909 save percentage this postseason. Unfortunately, Ilya Samsonov is unavailable, so the Capitals don’t have a proper replacement for Holtby.
While Holtby hasn’t impressed, the Capitals have to improve offensively if they want to stay alive in this series. They possess plenty of lethal weapons, but Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, and other forwards are obviously far away from their top form.
The Islanders have been playing well, but I’m not sure how they endured a painful Game 4 loss. On the other side, the Capitals should be highly motivated after that heroic victory. However, they are not playing well, so I would skip the side bet in this one.
Free NHL Pick: Instead, I would take the over on the totals. The Islanders will find the way to score a pair of goals if Braden Holtby doesn’t put on his best performance of the season. In that case, the Capitals will have to push forward in numbers, and I hope their offensive talent will help me win this bet.
These two Metropolitan Division foes split their four-game regular-season series, and three of four contests went in the over, producing seven or more goals in total.