The Washington Capitals welcome a familiar foe to the Capital One Arena in D.C. on Saturday night. The Blue Jackets are in town for their third meeting with the Capitals since losing in the playoffs. It was a solid effort by the Blue Jackets, who had Capitals’ fans sweating after going down 2-0 in Washington. A change of scenery in Columbus was what they needed, because the Caps rolled from there all the way to a Stanley Cup.
The Blue Jackets and Caps have split in the regular season, with the Jackets notching a 2-1 win in November and the Caps responding for a 4-0 win the following month. Could they meet in the playoffs again in the first round? It’s possible, but I think the Jackets are more concerned with catching them in the Metropolitan.
Washington enters with 58 points, while the Jackets are behind with 53 points. The Blue Jackets most recently knocked off the Predators in overtime by a score of 4-3. They’ve split their last four games, with both wins coming in overtime by the same score. The other victory came against the Panthers. Conversely, Washington are on a three-game winning streak after losing three straight.
After the romp the Capitals went on with 16 wins in 19 games, it was certainly different seeing the Capitals struggle to get things going. However, everything appears to be back on track. It was an impressive win to go into Boston and beat the Bruins. The Bruins were playing good hockey, but the Capitals made them know who the defending Stanley Cup Champions are. Head below for our free Blue Jackets vs. Capitals pick.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals Pick
I wouldn’t say it was a perfect game for the Capitals in Boston. In fact, they were outplayed and relied on Braden Holtby coming up big. They were outshot 17 to 5 in the 1st period alone. Holtby turned back 39 shots in the 4-2 victory. Nonetheless, he is a big part of this team, so their goaltender stealing 2 points is just part of this team.
When the offence isn’t performing at an elite level, there is always the chance that Holtby can show up and that’s what he did against the Bruins. It wasn’t the best start for him this year, though. When everything comes together, the Caps can be the most difficult team to beat in the league. I’m sure the Lightning have something to say about that, but we might find out who the superior team is in the playoffs. The Capitals have been dominating their division recently, though, with wins in seven of their last eight against Metropolitan opponents.
The Capitals have been a tough team to crack at home this season. They have bee lightning the red lamp at a clip of 3.57 goals per game, along with 2.71 goals allowed per game. The Jackets have given up slightly over 3 goals per game on the road.
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to be in net after getting told to stay home and not go to practice. He also didn’t dress for the 4-3 win over the Preds. It appears he may have had an outburst after getting benched in a loss against the Lightning. I find it highly unlikely he is back in Columbus next season. Holtby has been better at home with a 2.72 GAA compared to 3.07 on the road. Defensively as a whole the team has been playing better recently, with an average of 2.4 goals allowed per game in their previous ten games.
This will be Bobrovsky’s first appearance since tempers flared on Tuesday. I don’t know if this is the opponent the Blue Jackets want to go into with distractions. On the surface it’s likely not a big deal, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. The Capitals have won five of the last six meetings against the Blue Jackets. It should be a good contest that sees the Capitals come out of it with 2 points on Saturday.