As round one of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs rolls along, the third seed in the Eastern Conference Washington Capitals find themselves on the brink of elimination at the hands of the six seed New York Islanders. Game four of this series could be the final game if the Islanders are able to win and pull off the sweep of their longtime rivals from DC.
This series has been a surprising one so far. The Capitals are the higher seed and were the favorites at the beginning of the series. The Islanders have thoroughly outplayed Washington though, and now have a 3-0 series lead. It's now desperation time for the Capitals as every game from here on out is a must win.
The Series So Far
Game 1: The Islanders took game one by a score of 4-2. Washington scored the first two goals of the game, but New York stormed back scoring four unanswered goals, three in third period, to shock the Capitals.
Game 2: The Islanders took game two by a score of 5-2. The Capitals once again scored first, but weren't able to hold the lead. The teams traded goals through the first two periods, but the Islanders dominated the third. New York was able to extend its lead from 3-2 to 5-2 in the third, and the Capitals had no answer.
Game 3: The Islanders took game three by a score of 2-1 in overtime. This was the closest and lowest scoring game of the series so far. New York scored the only goal of the first period. Washington scored the only goal of the second. And after a scoreless third period, the two teams headed to overtime. Overtime didn't last very long, however, as Mat Barzal ended the game for the Islanders less than five minutes in, and put the Islanders up 3-0 in the series.
Overall, the Islanders have been the better team in almost every facet of the game in this series. They have outscored the Capitals 11-5. They have outshot the Capitals in all three games to this point. New York has also dominated the faceoff dot all series long. Washington has struggled offensively, as well as with discipline, spending way too much time in the penalty box. The Capitals need to turn things around very quickly if they are going to get back into this series.
What to Expect in Game 4
Game 4 will take place on Tuesday, August 18th at 8pm ET. It can be seen nationally in the U.S. on NBCSN. The Islanders will be looking to just keep playing the way they have been. New York has controlled the series to this point and have played their style of hockey. Their defense has held the Capitals to just 5 total goals, and their quick counterattack offense has found success against Washington's defense. The Capitals need to be in desperation mode. They are on the brink of elimination and need to play like it. They have been outworked, outsmarted, and outplayed this entire series. It's time for that to end. Washington needs to find a new level of play because their playoff lives are literally on the line. It's all about getting one win for the Capitals. They can't come back from 3-0 down in one night. They need to take it one game at a time and focus on winning one before winning four.
The New York Islanders have been the better team all series long. The Capitals have been very disappointing. I haven't seen anything that makes me think game four should be any different. It's possible that the Capitals start to fight back with their backs against the wall, but it's also possible they just check out. I believe the Islanders will finish off the sweep of the Capitals on Tuesday night and move on into the second round.
Pick: New York Islanders (-110)