2019-20 Season Record: 41-20-8 (3rd Eastern Conference)
Record vs Isles (2018 to 2020): 4-4-0
We know who they are: The Islanders have seen plenty of the Washington Capitals over the previous two seasons with eight games played. The division rivals split those games right down the middle with a 4-4-0 record.
Since Barry Trotz has taken over behind the bench the Islanders have matched-up well against Trotz’s former team. The Isles have been able to match the Capitals high-power offense with Alex Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov with 21 goals-for and 21 goals-against in the series.
Goaltending: With Ilya Samsonov injured prior to the RTP training camp he didn’t travel to Toronto and won’t be ready until 2020-21. That means the Capitals are playing Braden Holtby. Holtby hasn’t been that Vezina caliber goalie since Trotz left. He averaged an abysmal 0.897SV% and 3.11GAA in 47 starts this season.
The Islanders have a clear advantage in the goaltending department. Not only has Varalmov posted better numbers than Holtby in the regular season, but his postseason numbers have been fantastic compared to Holtby.
Varlamov: 1.77GAA, 0.932SV% (4GP)
Holtby: 2.46GAA, 0.898SV% (2GP)
Talent: The Capitals just have more talent. Not only do they have the aforementioned three up top, but they have John Carlsson on the blueline. If the series comes down to who can capitalize on their chances more the edge (on paper) clearly goes to the Capitals.
Penalty Kill: The Islanders penalty kill was terrible against the Florida Panthers. The Isles couldn’t clog up shooting lanes and the Panthers took full advantage with four of their seven goals in the series on the power-play.
The Caps power play was mid-table during the regular season, but if the Isles couldn’t stop Mike Hoffman from snipping one-timers on the PP, who says they can stop chronic PP-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin?