The Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche square up for a star studded matchup on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center. A heavyweight of the Eastern Conference will collide with a heavyweight in the Western Conference in what looks like the best matchup of the night. It could be a preview of the Stanley Cup Final, but it’s really an open race when the playoffs begin.
There are several teams you could say have a legitimate chance of getting hot in the spring. That’s what it essentially all comes down to. A good regular season isn’t nearly enough, just ask the Tampa Bay Lightning who are likely going to be better on alert this time around, which could pose a threat to the Capitals’ chances.
Washington heads into Thursday night with a record of 35-15-5. That gives them a bit of a cushion over the Penguins with a three-point lead, but it continues to get slimmer by the day. The Capitals were in complete control earlier in the season without a threat in sight. However, the Penguins have slowly been able to crawl back into the picture at the top of the Metropolitan Division.
The Capitals must be looking in the rear-view mirror thinking oh no here we go again with the Penguins. They’ve been in some epic battles over the years, as the Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin rivalry has been the best in hockey for more than a decade now. That rivalry could be revisited in the playoffs again. First things first, though, and the Capitals have to concern themselves with the rest of the regular season. Notably, the Avalanche this evening on the road.
It was not a performance to be proud of against the Islanders in their most recent outing. The Islanders cruised past the Capitals for a 5-3 win at Capital One Arena. Nor was it a pretty showing prior to that, with a 7-2 loss against the Flyers, which came in Washington as well. Home has typically been a welcoming place for the Capitals, though that hasn’t been the case of late. The Capitals had a four-game homestand and only secured one win.
Now, the Capitals will be on the road for their next three games and four out of their next five games. We’ll see if a chance of scenery can help them out, which could be the spark they need to get back on track. It’s likely not going to be easy in Denver, however. The Avalanche are rolling on a five-game winning streak and are feeling confident. A win against the Capitals would only add to that. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Avalanche pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Colorado Avalanche Betting Odds:
Capitals vs. Avalanche Prediction:
When the Capitals have their ‘A’ game working, they’re nearly an impossible force to stop. However, there haven’t been too many occasions that we’ve seen them at that level. That sounds ridiculous given their record and 1st place in the Metropolitan. But the goaltending and defence has not been good enough to claim the Capitals have been playing up to their full potential. A lot of wins have been high-scoring games that rely on the offence to carry the load.
In their last two games alone, the Capitals have allowed 12 goals and lost as pretty heavy favourites in both instances. It’s been a recurring theme, mostly for Braden Holtby who has been all out of sorts in 2019-20. He was in net for the 7-2 loss, and then Ilya Samsonov was pulled in the next loss after allowing 5 goals against the Islanders. Samsonov has been better this season, but he’s regressed after a red-hot start to his career. In his last three starts, he’s had a save percentage below 0.90 with at least 3 goals against in each game.
Better defence would result in better numbers for the goalies. Holtby especially could be a lot better, but the blueliners have to step up and start locking guys down in the defensive zone or it could be an early exit for the Capitals in the playoffs. If they continue to play sloppy defensively, which has been the case often this season, the Capitals are going to be ripe for an upset in the first-round. Heading into Denver, Washington is 17th in the NHL with 3.04 goals against per game.
That sounds manageable, but they’ve been wildly inconsistent. If they are cold in the playoffs, the door is going to be wide open for an upset. In their last ten outings, the Capitals have been cold defensively, having allowed 3.4 goals per game. The good news is that the Capitals have a potent offence in their arsenal. Despite allowing 3.4 goals a game, the Capitals’ offence scored 3.8 goals per contest. They are comfortable on the road as well, with 3.7 goals netted per contest.
Getting into a wild up and down game may do no good against the Avalanche, though. They are fully capable of getting into a run and gun game. The Avalanche are 1st in the NHL with 3.64 gals per game. Behind them is the Capitals, who’ve netted 3.55 goals a game for 2nd in the league. Colorado has been known to get hot at home, as they’ve scored 3.88 goals per contest. In other words, the Capitals might need to get into another high-scoring game to win tonight. It should be an entertaining meeting at the Pepsi Center. Consider a play on the OVER here.