New York Islanders (27-15-4, 58 pts) vs. Washington Capitals (27-14-5, 59 pts)
Friday, January 18 at 7:30 PM ET
Capital One Arena
By Jackalyn Harley
The New York Islanders will take on the Washington Capitals Friday evening, where Isles head coach Barry Trotz will return to D.C. for the first time since leading the Capitals to their Stanley Cup victory last season. The two teams are sitting neck and neck in the Metropolitan Division, split by just one point.
The Islanders are looking to extend their two-game win streak to three. This is their second game in a back-to-back set, after facing the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. Veteran Matt Barzal is having a white-hot season, leading the team with 13 goals and 30 assists for 43 points. He's posted one goal and five points in his past five appearances, so I would expect him to make some noise tonight.
Anders Lee is another player to watch for the Isles. He's put up three goals and three assists in his last five games. Thomas Greiss is the likely candidate in net tonight after Robin Lehner started against the Devils. Greiss boasts a .918 save percentage and goals against average of 2.62. After losing to the Capitals in the first of the four matchups these teams are set to have this season, the Islanders will be looking to make a splash tonight.
On the other end of the ice, the Washington Capitals are heading into this contest on a three-game losing streak, their second of the season. The team has lost six of their last nine games. Alex Ovechkin is always a force to be reckoned with for the Capitals, but after his career-high 14 game point streak came to an end, the veteran has tallied just nine points in the 14 games since. Nickolas Backstrom is sitting in second place on the team for points right behind Ovechkin. In his last five games, he's only notched two goals.
Netminder Braden Holtby has been absent with an eye injury, and Washington will be looking for him to return from the sidelines tonight and give the team the boost they need. Holtby is a solid force in the Capitals net, with a .912 save percentage. After swallowing a tough loss to the Nashville Predators, the Capitals will most likely mix their lines up yet again looking for a solution to snap this dry spell.
NHL Pick: Capitals -185 at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA