The easiest way to make it into the playoffs and guarantee yourself home ice advantage through at least the opening round is to win a division. We all know how important it is to gain that home ice advantage in the postseason, which is why every team who has a shot at winning their division also wants to do whatever it takes to land in the #1 seed in their conference. With each team in the NHL down to their last 35 games or so of the season, the push for that top spot is going to be a fun one to watch. It looks as though the Western Conference is going to be a 2-horse race between the Blues and the Avalanche for first, while there are a few teams in with a shot at the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Washington Capitals, as they always seem to be, are in that hunt and will try to put pressure on the top-ranked Bruins with a win at home against the New York Islanders on Monday night. The Capitals are favored by 1 ½ at home, with the goal total set at 6.
When: Monday, February 10 at 7 PM EST
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington
NHL Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the New York Islanders
The Metropolitan Division has been a ton of fun to watch this year, with the New York Islanders very much contributing to what has turned into a great divisional battle. They are currently sitting 9 points off the pace being set by the Washington Capitals after going 31-16-6 this season, and while a win here could close the gap a little, the main concern at the moment for the Islanders is ensuing that they hang on to a playoff spot. As it stands at the moment, they are in the first of the two Wild Card spots, but they are also just 1 point up on the team right below the playoff line. The Islanders are 14-9-2 in road games this season, and while they are 1-2 in their 3 previous meetings with the Capitals this season, it has been the road team that has won each time.
Why bet on the Washington Capitals
While the first order of business for the Washington Capitals is winning the division, you can bet that they also have their eye on the top of the Eastern Conference and the President’s Trophy. The Capitals currently have a 4-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division and are just 3 points back of the Boston Bruins for the best record in the NHL. Washington comes into this one having gone 6-4-0 in their last 10 games and they will be well aware that they have been more effective on the road than at home this season. That said, they are still a solid 16-8-4 on home ice, although just 10-18 ATS in those games.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Of the 3 games that these teams have gone head to head this season, 2 of them were decided by a single goal. I am on the Capitals to win at home on Monday night, but I like the Islanders to keep it close and cover.
New York Islanders 2 Washington Capitals 3