Free Picks: New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals

Curtis Rush
NHL Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Islanders vs Capitals NHL
New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals, NHL, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The Capitals lead the East Division, but the Islanders are two points behind. These are two well-coached teams. This is a classic case of great offense meeting great defense and trying to decide which one will prevail. Then there is the Alex Ovechkin factor. In his last 5 games, he has notched 4 goals, giving him 18 in 31 games. Not bad for a 35-year-old warrior.

Alex Ovechkin almost unstoppable

For my BetPicks free picks, I’m favoring the underdog Capitals on the MoneyLine. I’m going to shy away from the puck line, but on the Over/Under, I like the Under (5.5) (-130) with 10Bet because the Capitals have scored 15 goals in their last 4 games, and this production is not sustainable.

When I go about making my NHL picks, I look at difference makers like Ovechkin, who  is charging up the leaderboard in career goals. He is No. 6 all-time with 724 goals as he chases Wayne Gretzky for the overall lead at 894.

But he’s played only one game this season against the Islanders due to a layoff due to Covid protocols. In that game, he was pretty tame with one goal and one assist.  But Ovechkin is heating up after a slow start to the season. In 14 games in March, he tallied 11 goals.

The Islander giant killers have been defensemen John Carlson and Justin Schultz, as well as center Nicklas Backstrom. All three have registered 5 points in 3 head-to-head games. The hottest Islander has been Anthony Beauvillier with 4 goals in his last 5 games.

The Capitals have the 9th best power play at 23.9%. Washington’s offense is ranked No. 3 with an average of 3.40 goals per game. The Islanders counter with the No. 3-ranked defense, having allowed only 2.31 goals a game.

But the Islander defense has crumbled against the Capitals, allowing 12 goals in their 3 games.

A big blow to the Islanders has been the loss of captain Anders Lee to a season-ending injury. Over the last 9 games without Lee, the Islanders have scored only 25 goals while allowing 24, which is mediocre at best.

When I’m making my NHL predictions, I look at the goaltenders and home-and-away records.

A big plus on the Islanders’ side is their incredible home record of 13-1-2. I would also give the Islanders an edge in goalkeeping. The Islanders goaltenders rank No. 3 in the league in save percentage.

The Islanders are favorites for these  NHL game odds but I don’t think they match up well against the Capitals.

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  • Washington is 10-2 Straight Up in their last 12 games.
  • The Islanders are 7-1 SU in their last 7 games at home.
  • The total has gone Under in 4 of the Islanders’ last 6 games against Washington.
  • The total has gone Over in 4 of the Islanders’ last 6 games overall.

I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.