It is one of the most underrated rivalries in the NHL. The New York Islanders versus the Washington Capitals.
But it is a rivalry nonetheless.
There was Dale Hunter’s cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon in the 1993 first-round series, which essentially cost the Islanders a chance for their fifth Stanley Cup. There was the 2014-15 first round playoff series that saw Barry Trotz and the Capitals end the Islanders’ first stint at the Nassau Coliseum.
And then there was the time when Trotz returned to Washington in the 2018-19 season to claim his Stanley Cup championship ring – won as coach of the Capitals – with the Islanders.
And another chapter will be authored during today’s slate NHL games.
Islanders vs Capitals Best Bets
Entering the game, the Islanders and Capitals are on significantly different trajectories.
Although the Islanders are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at UBS Arena, New York finished the month of October with a 4-2-2 record and its 10 points are four behind the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers.
The Islanders strength is their defensive structure and goaltending. Starting goaltender Ilya Sorokin and reserve Semyon Varlamov have been stalwarts this season. Sorokin has a 2.99 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in six games – all starts – while Varlamov has compiled a .961 save percentage and 1.51 goals-against average. Both have a shutout to their name.
None of which bodes well for Washington, which is entering the game without franchise center Nicklas Backstrom, whom the team announced Wednesday was going to take a leave of absence due to a lingering left hip injury.
The Washington Capitals and Nicklas Backstrom provide an update on Backstrom’s health status.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 1, 2023
Not that there is ever an optimal time for a team to lose a cornerstone player, but the timing could not have been worse for the Capitals, who have won three straight under new head coach Spencer Carbery after dropping four of their first five games to start the season.
But Washington has not been able to consistently generate offense, even when one of the most skilled centers of his era was in the lineup. The Capitals have scored just 17 goals in eight games this season and should be faded in online betting.
NHL Pick: New York Islanders -125
Islanders vs Capitals Game Information
- Game: Islanders (4-2-2) vs Capitals (4-3-1).
- Location: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
- Day/Time: Thursday, Nov. 2, 7:00 P.M. ET
- Islanders vs Capitals Live Stream: NHL.TV
Islanders vs Capitals Betting Lines
Questions Of The Day
Which player will score the first goal of the game?
New York defenseman Noah Dobson has authored a marvelous start to the 2023-24 season with a team-leading nine points. His puck-moving and passing are creating shooting lanes, which he took full advantage of in the Islanders’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Tuesday night by scoring his second goal of the season.
Is there a best NHL spread pick for the Islanders vs Capitals game?
Take the Islanders to cover the -1 ½ puck line because they do not allow goals and Washington heretofore this season has proved they cannot score.