Islanders 3 Bold predictions for series vs. Washington Capitals
Mathew Barzal Continues to Dominate
Level of spice: 2/5
It took a few games for Mathew Barzal to make an impact for the New York Islanders against the Florida Panthers. With only a single point from Game 1 through to Game 3, Barzal was anonymous for the Islanders.
But in Game 4, Barzal took over. The Islanders star put up two points with a goal and an assist as the Islanders rolled over the Panthers and booked their ticket to the first round of the 2020 playoffs.
It took a while for Barzal to get going. He attributed his success in Game 4 to the most used hockey cliché ever “keeping it simple”:
"“Once we started to just keep it simple and started playing to each other’s strengths, and I trusted them a little bit more, giving [Anders Lee] pucks down low and making him work. His game down there, I think, it really opened our line up. So we’re just going to have to continue to do that.”"
It’s not incredibly spicy to think that Barzal can lead the Islanders against the Capitals. Outside of that error-filled outing in 2016 that saw him go back to WHL, he’s been one of the Islanders best performers against the Capitals.
In 12 games against the Capitals since the 2017-18 season, Barzal has eight points. It’s a three-way tie at the top with Barzal, Nelson, and Bailey all sitting with eight points in 12 games against the Caps.
Now that Barzal has found his top gear in the playoffs he should be able to keep it up against a team that he typically finds success against.
Again, it’s not the spiciest of takes. But with how Barzal performed in the first few games against the Panthers it’s not impossible for that to happen against a well oiled Caps team.