NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Islanders

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Islanders article feature image

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Sorokin.

  • The Islanders host the Capitals in a Saturday battle of teams trending in opposite directions.
  • New York is looking to win its fourth straight as it continues to push for the postseason.
  • Ryan Dadoun looks at the odds and offers up his best bet below.

Capitals vs. Islanders Odds

Capitals Odds+110
Islanders Odds-132
Over/Under5.5 (-120/-102)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Capitals are rapidly fading from the playoff picture, while the Islanders are still very much in the mix for a postseason berth. With their fates heading in different directions, will the Islanders extend their winning streak to four games by besting Washington on Saturday?

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Washington Capitals

It wasn't that long ago the Capitals were still competing for at least a wild-card spot, but after going 3-8-1 over their past 12 games, they don't have much hope left. Washington basically resigned itself to that fate when it traded Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, Lars Eller, Erik Gustafsson and Marcus Johansson before the deadline. The only active NHL players Washington got in those trades are Craig Smith and Rasmus Sandin.

In addition to shipping away some important parts of the supporting cast, the Capitals are also missing John Carlson (face), Martin Fehervary (lower body), Carl Hagelin (hip) and Nick Jensen (upper body).

After all that, Washington — its blueline in particular — has taken quite a hit. With all due respect to Sandin and Trevor van Riemsdyk, the fact that they might be Washington's top-two defensemen Saturday is far from ideal.

Washington's forward core has also been underwhelming recently. Dating back to Feb. 12, the Capitals are tied for 21st offensively with 2.92 goals per game.

It hasn't been all bad during that stretch. T.J. Oshie has six goals and 12 points over his past 12 contests, Tom Wilson has provided five markers and seven points over his past nine games and Alex Ovechkin has contributed four goals and seven points over his past eight outings. Between the injuries and the trades though, there isn't a lot else left.

In net, the Capitals will probably utilize Darcy Kuemper. He's having a solid campaign with a 19-20-5 record, a 2.75 GAA and a .912 save percentage in 45 contests. He's also been one of the team's bright spots lately, with a 2.46 GAA and a .931 save percentage over his past four games.

If the Capitals are going to beat the Islanders, it will probably be thanks in no small part to another strong performance from Kuemper.

New York Islanders

Kuemper's task is a little more manageable given the Islanders' lackluster forward core. New York has the 23rd-ranked offense with 2.91 goals per game.

The Islanders did attempt to address their scoring woes by acquiring Bo Horvat on Jan. 30, but that addition was negated by the loss of Mathew Barzal (lower body). To make matters worse, Horvat has underwhelmed since joining the Islanders, recording five goals and nine points over 15 games. To put that in perspective, he contributed 31 goals and 54 points in 49 contests with Vancouver before the trade.

At least Brock Nelson is doing well with 28 goals and 63 points in 67 games, including 13 goals and 24 points over his past 21 outings. Anders Lee has stepped up too, with four markers over his past three games, giving him 26 goals and 46 points in 67 contests in 2022-23.

The Islanders' offense still isn't great, but when New York has Ilya Sorokin in net, the forwards often don't need to provide a lot of goals to stay in the game. Sorokin has a 23-18-6 record, a 2.35 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 49 contests. He'll enter Saturday's action on a three-game winning streak, having stopped 77 of 83 shots in that span.

Capitals vs. Islanders Pick

The Islanders are being treated as moderate favorites, which isn't surprising given the state of the Capitals. I think this has the makings of a goaltending duel, but between Kuemper and Sorokin, the latter has the clear edge.

The challenge is that the Islanders' potential moneyline payout isn't great, and with this being a potentially low-scoring game, I don't love the idea of taking the Islanders on the puck line.

My proposed compromise is to instead grab the Islanders on FanDuel's "3 Way." Unlike the moneyline, you'll lose the bet if the game goes to overtime, but the odds being offered are appealing enough to make it worth the additional risk in my mind.

Pick:New York Islanders 3 Way +110 (play down to -105)

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