NEW YORK ISLANDERS (1-0-0-1, 3 pts)
at WASHINGTON CAPITALS (2-1-0-0, 4 pts)
Puck drops: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Washington -300, New York +250, Total: 6
If I were to ask who were the two top scoring forwards in the Atlantic Division through the first week of the NHL season, I’m sure names like Crosby, Malkin, Elias, Gaborik, Briere and Richards would come up. However, the answer for this first week of the 2010 NHL season are a pair of Islanders, Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey, each of whom has four points on the season. Odds.
Despite being without four of their top offensive players of 2009-10, the Islanders have earned three of a possible four points in their first two games of the season. In both games they rallied when trailing in the third period. Bailey, a third year pro who was the Islanders first round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, has been one of the best players in the league through the first week. Taking most of injured John Tavares minutes, Bailey has shown that the future might be right now for the Islanders. Comeau, in his fourth full season, leads the Islanders with three goals and has created many turnovers with his aggressive style of play.
The Capitals were expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup after winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season. After dropping their season opener in Atlanta on Friday night, the Caps have responded with back-to-back victories. Alex Ovechkin is off to a fast start, scoring three goals and dishing out two assists in Washington’s first three games this season. Alexander Semin is also off to a terrific start, scoring a goal and collecting three assists. Scores.
For the Islanders, Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo are both out with shoulder injuries. Okposo is expected back in December, while Streit is likely out until March. John Tavares, the team’s No. 1 center, did not make the trip due to a mild concussion suffered on Saturday against Dallas. Defenseman James Wisniewski will also miss the next two games for the Isles due to making an obscene gesture towards the Rangers Shawn Avery in the Islanders 6-4 win on Monday.
Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov is out with a groin injury, while defenseman Tom Poti (lower body) is day-to-day. Right wing Matt Bradley is also questionable after leaving three minutes into Monday’s game with a lower-body injury.
Washington won three of the four meetings between these two teams last season, but three games went beyond regulation. Being down three top forwards and now two top defenseman with Wisniewski’s suspension, will make an already tall order just about impossible for the Islanders. However, the Islanders have shown tons of grit and energy in their first two games erasing third-period deficits, outshooting opponents 79-55 and scoring 10 goals, including five on the power play. Dwayne Roloson is 6-3-0-3 with a 2.43 GAA and 2 career shutouts against the Capitals. With a big possible payoff coming, I’m taking the Islanders. Las Vegas odds.
NY ISLANDERS are 7-2 ATS (+10.0 Units) after a game where both teams scored 4goals or more over the last 2 seasons. The average score was NY ISLANDERS 3.6,OPPONENT 1.9 – (Rating = 0*).