New York Islanders (+118) at Washington Capitals (-130, 5 o/u)
Tonight, all eyes will be on the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., as the New York Islanders (3-3, 1-2 away) and Washington Capitals (3-3, 2-1 home) clash in Game 7 of their first-round series (7:30 PM Eastern).
After finishing the regular season tied in the standings, few pundits were surprised to see this one go the distance. The Islanders forced a seventh and deciding game with a 3-1 win at home on the weekend. Captain John Tavares, who led New York in almost every offensive statistical category this season, came up huge, scoring the opening goal and assisting on the game winner.
Goalie Jaroslav Halak played his best game of the series, stopping 38 of the 39 shots he faced.
With the Islanders moving to Brooklyn next year, Saturday’s may have been the last ever for the squad at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. The team is obviously hoping that’s not the case.
“We want to keep this thing going. We want to be able to play in front of them even more,” said Islanders defenseman Brian Strait. “To not keep it going, it doesn’t matter. It’s a failure.”
“Our guys, there were no nerves,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We’ve just got to go out and play and I think that’s what we did. Expecting a Game 7? Two good teams, two solid goaltenders, obviously they’re a little bit healthier than we are in certain areas, but that doesn’t stop the relentlessness we have in our guys. It doesn’t surprise me.”
John Carlson potted the only goal of the game for Washington, tying it up at one with five seconds left in the first period. Though Washington fired nearly 40 shots on the Isles’ net, head coach Barry Trotz wasn’t satisfied with his team’s urgency.
“To me, at the end of the day, their desperation level was higher than ours,” Trotz said. “Now we’re both desperate.”
The Islanders won the first game of the series in Washington (4-1), but dropped the next two in DC (4-3 and 5-1), allowing nine goals in the process.
Unfortunately for the Caps, the team is just 3-9 all-time in Game 7s and an astonishingly bad 2-7 at home.
With those trends in mind, putting much on the Caps at -130 doesn’t have a lot of value. Instead, look for this Game 7 to be a tight-checking, low-scoring affair – as Game 7s often are – making the under look like the best play.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr: 00091427) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)