The final round robin game will set the seeding for that side of the bracket, as Boston does battle with Washington early Sunday afternoon.
Neither powerhouse team has really found their footing in Toronto just yet. Boston has struggled to keep pucks out of their net, while also battling some injuries. Meanwhile, Washington too has some key injuries of their own, and their veteran core has looked a tad slow since the restart hit.
The implications for this matchup are quite simple; a Boston win in regulation or overtime/shootout, will grant them the right to play the Islanders in Round 1 of the post-season. That would leave the Caps to take on the Hurricanes. Anything else, and the roles are reversed.
If you’ve been following along thus far, you know we are big fans of the Hurricanes, and that’s only been magnified since they throttled a talented Rangers side. Neither Boston nor Washington likely want to see Carolina in the first round, making the stakes for this showdown even larger. While the Islanders are certainly not pushovers either, the level in which Carolina is currently playing makes them a feared Round 1 opponent.
Can both of these well-respected clubs find their games in time to seize another Stanley Cup? With veteran bodies, it might continue to take some time for both Boston and Washington. As always, continue reading on beneath the odds below for a full game preview and betting analysis as we look to close out the round robin on a winning notes.
Bruins vs. Capitals Betting Odds:
Boston Bruins (-123
Washington Capitals (+111)
Over 5.5 (-111)
Under 5.5 (+101)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Bruins vs. Capitals Pick:
With both teams very clearly struggling out of the game, expect both coaches to really put an emphasis on hitting the playoffs in stride and ensuring they’re ready for that level of intensity.
Before delving into our prediction and analysis, it’s notable to discuss some pertinent team and injury news surrounding both sides. It’s believed that this final game will be the first time Boston’s been healthy all season. For undisclosed reasons, talented winger Ondrej Kase had yet to join the team – though all reports say he’s been cleared and will play Sunday afternoon. Kase is a speedy winger with a deft scoring touch and will really help Boston beyond their dominating top-line.
On the other end of the ice, Washington has a bit more of an injury scare on their hands. Top players John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov have their statuses still in doubt as they remain uncertain for Sunday. Carlson has yet to play at all since the restart, and without their top defenseman – the Caps have struggled moving the puck from their back-end. Also worth noting is that Lars Eller won’t be playing either on Sunday, as he returned to the bubble following the birth of a child. He has three days left in his quarantine, so should be fine for the first round of the playoffs.
Though both of these teams have talked a big game since entering the bubble, neither side has shown the ability to back it up with the play we’re used to seeing from them. Boston’s offense has looked out of sync and struggling to finish, while Washington doesn’t seem scary at all – aside from their patented ‘move it to Ovechkin’ strategy on the powerplay.
While both teams will do their best to treat it like a crucial playoff game, the point still is that it isn’t that. Boston however has looked better as the week has gone along, and now that they’re fully healthy – you have to look their way come Sunday. The Bruins possess a deep and talented lineup at full strength, and are proudly a team that can win multiple ways.
They were the best team in the league for a reason this year, and even though they won’t be the top seed – the betting here is that coach Bruce Cassidy prioritized rest and management over winning these mostly unnecessary games.
With the brackets set however, while no team would ever admit it, there’s definitely a preference to playing the Islanders over the talented Hurricanes. Boston will push hard for a victory, and should be able to control the vast majority of the play on Sunday. Washington’s injuries are worrisome, and even if the likes of Carlson and Kuznetsov do play – how healthy are they?
A betting strategy for this match would be to wait as close as you can to puck drop to check on the statuses of the Caps’ top players. If they’re in, still play the Bruins at a better price, and if they’re not – still feel confident backing the B’s as slight favourites. Boston is an elite side, and they will start rounding into form on Sunday.
Pick: Boston 3-1