Alex Ovechkin scored twice to help the Washington Capitals avoid elimination in Game 4 Tuesday, defeating the New York Islanders 3-2. Photo by No Va Caps (Twitter).
- Leading 3-1, the New York Islanders will have another chance to eliminate the Washington Capitals in Game 5 on Thursday, Aug. 20 (3 p.m. ET).
- No team has managed to register 30 or more shots against the Islanders in this postseason
- See the odds and analysis for Game 5, below
The New York Islanders will have their second chance to eliminate the Washington Capitals from the 2020 NHL playoffs in Game 5 on Thursday, Aug. 20 (3 p.m. ET). But even with a 3-1 series lead, the Islanders can’t be overly confident.
Alex Ovechkin’s strong play in the Capitals’ 3-2 win on Tuesday reminded the Islanders that Washington, the 2018 Stanley Cup champions, still has a dangerous offensive team. The Capitals erased a 2-0 Islanders’ lead and Ovechkin scored the game-tying and game-winning goals.
NY Islanders vs Washington Capitals Game 5 Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Puckline||Total Odds at DraftKings|
|New York Islanders||-110||-1.5 (245)||O 5 (-137)|
|Washington Capitals||-110||+1.5 (-303)||U 5 (+110)|
*Odds taken August 18.
No one understands how difficult it is to close out Washington than Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who coached the Capitals when they won the Stanley Cup two seasons ago.
Oddsmakers slightly favored the Islanders going into Game 4, but not by much, and the small edge they gave NYI is now gone; the Islanders vs Capitals odds for Game 5 are a pick’em at -110 both ways.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
When Ovechkin Takes Charge
When the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018, Ovechkin was a monstrous force. It wasn’t just the 15 goals he scored or the 27 points he produced. It was the leadership, physical play, and shot blocking. Ovechkin did everything in his power to win in that postseason.
In Game 4 against the Islanders, we saw a glimpse of that Ovechkin. He had two goals, three hits, and two blocks, including a memorable block in the closing minute when the Caps were protecting their one-goal lead.
Only four teams in NHL history have erased a 3-0 series lead to win a playoff series. If Ovechkin continues to play like this, the Capitals could have a shot at being the fifth. No forward or defenseman in this series can impact a series the way Ovechkin can.
Alex Ovechkin has nicer playoff numbers than Sid pic.twitter.com/I0ACXYdz9p
— P-Word Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) August 19, 2020
Islanders Having Trouble on the Power Play
The Islanders were 0-for-5 on the power play in Game 4 and they are 1-for-19 against the Capitals in the series. They would be safely in the second round if they could score with the man advantage.
Trotz’s group doesn’t have a dominant power play performer like Ovechkin. This isn’t a new problem for the Islanders, who ranked 24th during the regular season.
“We had the zone time, but we need production out of it”
– Barry Trotz on the Islanders’ power-play struggles pic.twitter.com/dhFzny1lCg
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 19, 2020
Backstrom Should Be Close to Returning for Capitals
Nicklas Backstrom, one of the NHL’s most consistent offensive catalysts, missed his third game of this series with a concussion.
But he practiced Monday, meaning he seems to be making progress in the NHL concussion protocol. The Islanders must assume Backstrom, barring a setback, could play Game 5. With his passing ability, Backstrom makes Ovechkin and the Capitals more dangerous.
Ovie ties it. Nicklas Backstrom is pumped. https://t.co/9da2PGBu0Y
— Full Press NHL (@FullPressNHL) August 19, 2020
Don’t Bet on Capitals Being Eliminated Just Yet
The Capitals don’t look like a team on the verge of being eliminated. Based on NHL history, the Capitals’ chances of coming back to win this series are less than three percent. But it is not difficult to see the Capitals rising up again to win Game 5.
Given the Islanders’ power play slump, the New York team is in the difficult situation of trying to beat the Capitals 5-on-5. It doesn’t help that the Islanders have the second-worst penalty killing percentage (72%).
More bad news for the Islanders: Cal Clutterbuck didn’t return in the third period after being checked hard. It’s too early to know his status.
Game 5 Pick: Capitals (-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.