Islanders captain Anders Lee celebrates with teammates after scoring a key goal in the Islanders’ 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals. Game 2 is Friday at 8 p.m ET. Photo by Isles Territory, via Twitter.com
- The New York Islanders can go up 2-0 in their best-of-seven series if they beat Washington on Friday (Aug. 14, 8:00 pm ET)
- Not considered a high scoring team, the Islanders have scored 17 goals in their first five playoff games.
- See the odds and betting analysis from Kevin Allen in the story below
The New York Islanders head into into Friday’s Game 2 (Aug. 14th, 8:00 pm ET) against the Washington Capitals with a 1-0 lead thanks to a 4-2 come from behind win on Wednesday. But their performance wasn’t enough to make them a favorite in Game 2, though they are getting a little more respect from oddsmakers.
NY Islanders vs Washington Capitals August 14d Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Puckline||Total Odds at DraftKings|
|New York Islanders||+110||+1.5 (-275)||O 5 (-143)|
|Washington Capitals||-127||-1.5 (+210)||U 5 (+115)|
Odds taken August 12
The Capitals, who were –133 moneyline favorites in Game 1, have opened as -127 favorites in Game 2.
The Islanders’ 4-2 win in Game 1 should be enough to make bettors wonder whether they should be paying attention to Washington’s ability to prevent goals. The Capitals, who entered the third period up 2-0, shouldn’t be surrendering four late goals to the Islanders.
Coming into the series, the question was whether the Islanders’ strong defense would be enough to slow Washington’s offense. The answer was ‘yes.’ But the Capitals couldn’t prevent the Islanders from erupting.
The Captain with a massive goal. Anders Lee coming up huge #Isles pic.twitter.com/VZS6Y38L46
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) August 12, 2020
The Trotz Factor is Real
Islanders coach Barry Trotz may be getting inside the Capitals’ heads just a bit. Because he coached Washington to a Stanley Cup in 2018, the Capitals know how hard he can get his players to play.
The Capitals also know that Trotz understands how each of them plays. He knows their tendencies. Trotz knows goalie Braden Holtby as well as, maybe even better, than his own goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Trotz is a masterful defensive coach. Thus far, the Islanders have given up nine goals in four playoff games.
This Capitals/Islander series led to my favorite quote 👇 in our anonymous predictions piece from a coach, who picked the Islanders to advance.
You can see all the picks and comments here: https://t.co/GLj6zoXc17 pic.twitter.com/qthiloQqWH
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) August 12, 2020
Should the Capitals Worry About Braden Holtby?
NBC analyst Keith Jones said Holtby let the Islanders back in Game 1. It’s hard to argue because his team had a 2-0 lead late in the second period when he gave up a soft goal to Jordan Eberle.
Holtby was probably to blame for two of the Islanders’ four goals. He didn’t provide the level of performance you want to see from your starter in the opening game of a playoff series.
Braden Holtby with the casual drop on the power play like he’s messing around playing street hockey. Puck ends up behind him. 3-2 Isles. Yikes.
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) August 12, 2020
The Caps’ problem is they don’t have a desirable alternative to Holtby. Ilya Samsonov, the Capitals’ backup, was injured in an off-ice recreation accident. It’s an awkward situation because Holtby, a potential unrestricted free agent, could be leaving the team after the season.
Holtby’s Game 1 struggles weren’t totally unexpected: With an .897 save percentage and 3.11 goals-against average, Holtby had the worst season of his NHL career.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Capitals’ Backstrom Injured in Game 1
If Nicklas Backstrom can’t play Game 2, it would be a major blow for the Capitals’ offense. Backstrom is Alex Ovechkin’s set-up man. He is the team’s best playmaker. The crafty center makes Ovechkin better.
Backstrom was injured on what the Capitals considered a blindside hit by Islanders forward Anders Lee in the first period. At first, it looked as if Backstrom would be fine. He played some shifts. But he did not return to the ice in the second period. After the hit, Lee was forced to fight Tom Wilson and John Carlson who took issue with it. Carlson said he thought it was a dirty hit.
Whether Backstrom plays Game 2 or not, this is probably not the end of this situation. The Capitals will go after Lee. You can bet Trotz will tell his players they must remain disciplined and stay out of the penalty box. If you give the Capitals’ too many power play chances, they will hurt you.
Tom Wilson lays into Anders Lee for his hit on Nicklas Backstrom pic.twitter.com/DSTmBkVfd0
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 12, 2020
A Good Bet
With Backstrom’s injury, Holtby’s struggles, and Trotz’s knowledge of what makes the Capitals tick, the Islanders are looking like a good value bet.
The Islanders aren’t considered a quality offensive team. They averaged under three goals per game this season. The New York squad shouldn’t be a come-from-behind team. But Trotz teams traditionally don’t quit on a game. No one understands that better than the Capitals
Game 2 pick: Islanders (+110)
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.