New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal before an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins Friday, April 16, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
- On Thursday, the New York Islanders (29-13-4) host the Washington Capitals (29-13-4)
- Both Mathew Barzal and John Carlson are averaging more than a point per game in the head to head match up this season
- Here are the odds, team previews, and the best value bet available
The top two teams in the East Division are set to do battle on Thursday night, April 22nd, 2021. The Capitals and Islanders enter the game with identical 29-13-4 records. New York is listed as the slight favorite in the Capitals vs Islanders odds. Islanders boast two top-tier goaltenders in Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin, while netminder Vitek Vanecek has been solid for Washington.
The game is at Nassau Coliseum, where the Islanders have played quite well. Let’s take a look at the odds for this matchup below.
Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders Odds – April 22nd
|Team||Spread||Moneyline at PointsBet||Total|
|Washington Capitals||+1.5 (-245)||+100||O 5.5 (-115)|
|New York Islanders||-1.5 (+195)||-121||U 5.5 (-105)|
Odds as of April 21st
With a matchup this tight, it’s important to do a deep dive into both rosters to try and find the value. Let’s look at some of the players that will likely be key factors in the outcome.
Islanders Have Edge Between the Pipes
Semyon Varlamov and Vitek Vanecek are the likely starting goalies for this pivotal game. Just like the two teams, the two goalies have identical records as well. Both Varlamov and Vanecek are 17-9-3 this season, but that’s just about where the comparisons end.
📊 STATS 📊 pic.twitter.com/UYrgasuTyz
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 21, 2021
Varlamov has a 2.20 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He’s a big reason the Islanders have allowed the second fewest goals per game in the league. He’s a bonafide starting goalie that gives New York an edge in that department on many nights. Vanecek on the other hand has a 2.77 goals against average and .908 save percentage.
His numbers are the definition of average, much like the Capitals defense as a whole. Washington ranks 19th in the league allowing 3.02 goals per game. If the goalies decide this one, Varlamov gives the home side the edge.
2021 Vezina Trophy Odds Tracker
Barzal vs Carlson Could Be Key Matchup
Mathew Barzal and John Carlson are two dominant offensive players in the league. Barzal leads the Islanders, while Carlson is tied for the most points of any defenseman in the league. Both have enjoyed great success against each other this season. Barzal has tallied four goals and four assists against the Capitals in five games, while Carlson has seven points in those matchups.
John Carlson of the @Capitals had 0-4—4 on Saturday afternoon and established a single-game career high for assists. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/H3kO1rMc7n
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 17, 2021
The difference here is, Carlson should also be helping keep the puck out of his own net. He was an elite offensive force last year averaging more than a point per game. Barzal is backed by a great defense and one of the NHL’s best coaches in Barry Trotz. This key matchup could tilt in Barzal’s favor due to his superior supporting cast in his own end.
Capitals vs Islanders Best Bet
The Capitals have all the flash and dash with Alex Ovechkin and company, but there’s a reason the Islanders are favorites in this game. They’ve played 23 games on home ice this season and have exactly two regulation losses. You don’t own the best home record in all of hockey this deep into the season by accident. Expect Barzal to lead the way up front while Varlamov holds down the fort in goal.
Mat Barzal (@Barzal_97) making magic happen for Travis Zajac’s first with the @NYIslanders! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/6hvX5rK6N8
— NHL (@NHL) April 16, 2021
If you’re interested in the total, the stakes could turn this into a tight checking game similar to a playoff game. That brand of hockey suits the Islanders perfectly. Trust them to build on that NHL leading home record, and if you’re feeling a little risky, pair that result with the under in a parlay on April 22nd.
The Pick: New York Islanders Moneyline (-121)
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Ryan has been working at TSN for over eleven years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That’s Hockey. Over the years, he’s launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That’s Hockey 2Nite.