The Washington Capitals will head into Columbus on a back-to-back to challenge the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The LA Kings made things interesting for a couple of periods, but the Capitals pulled ahead to put the Kings away by a score of 6-4. It played out like a lot of other games for them this season. The Capitals had to get their playmakers making plays to overcome a slow defensive performance.
Phoenix Copley was in net as the Capitals wanted to give Holtby the night off to prepare for tonight. The Blue Jackets are the better team, so it makes sense to give the backup work against the Kings. Some of those goals weren’t Copley’s fault, though. A lazy effort in front of the net from their blue liners was more like it.
At least 2 were because the Kings were the aggressors in front of the net. Holtby is well aware with what Copley had to deal with last night, because it’s been a problem for the Caps frequently this year. Holtby got hot just at the right time last season in the playoffs.
The stop he made on Alex Tuch in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final was a championship winner. Vegas was never able to overcome that chance, which was inches away from being a goal for the Knights. However, Holtby has been rather pedestrian and that’s going to have to change for the Capitals. They are currently behind the Islanders by 3 points for the lead in the Metropolitan. That’s also just 4 points ahead of the Penguins for the last seed in the Eastern Conference. Every point is going to become even more important. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick
The Blue Jackets go into tonight with some confidence in their step. They’re on a three-game winning streak with wins over the Avalanche, Coyotes, and Golden Knights. The Blue Jackets can be a streaky team and right now it’s a time to feel good in Columbus. Prior to winning three straight games, the Jackets were on a five-game losing streak, so you have to take the good with the bad. They have 65 points which puts their season in doubt.
They are teetering as a fringe team at the moment. The Jackets are a better team than that five-game losing streak indicated, but they’re really stuck in a position of whether to be sellers or buyers at the trade deadline. Even if they do reach the playoffs, they likely don’t go too far, so selling is probably the smart move. Moving Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin before they get nothing for them will look wise in the offseason.
Washington will likely be tough to stop offensively in this matchup. They have been getting a tremendous effort out of complimentary player Brett Connolly lately. He has tailed 4 goals, along with an assist in his last four games. When they’re getting offence from players other than Ovechkin, Oshie, or Kuznetsov, the Capitals are doubly difficult to slow down.
The Jackets’ offence has been playing hard recently, as they’ve notched 14 goals in their last three games for an average of 4.6 goals per game. In their previous ten games, the Jackets have notched 3.6 goals per game, though have allowed 3.3 goals on the defensive side. That’s not nearly as bad as the Caps, who have surrendered 4.4 goals per game in their last ten. The Kings’ offence, who are far from talented, took them for 4 goals on Monday. The OVER has gone 7-2 in their last nine games, while 4-0-2 in the Blue Jackets last six games. Look for an entertaining game this evening in Columbus with the OVER a solid play.