A marquee matchup in Boston tonight, as the Washington Capitals travel to TD Garden for a clash with the Bruins. The Bruins enter on a five-game winning streak, while the Capitals have wins in their last two outings. The two wins for the Caps over the Red Wings and Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak. Washington previously lost three in a row to the Predators, Blues, and Stars.
Wins over the Red Wings and Flyers isn’t going to impress many people, but it’s good for the Caps to get it out of their system after playing sloppy hockey for a few games. The Flyers and Red Wings both pulled within a goal in the 3rd period, but the Caps fended the late surge off. Copley was in net against the Flyers, though expect Braden Holtby back between the pipes this evening in Boston.
The Capitals were flying before they were brought down to earth a little bit recently. It didn’t look like they were going to have any issues after shaking off the hangover to open the season. However, we saw against the Senators on December 29th that they were starting to slow down.
They barely got by, 3-2, in Ottawa and then followed it up with three straight losses. When Ovechkin was hot, the rest of the team was on fire as well. When Ovechkin is hot, everything else falls into place for the Caps. He has just 1 goal in ten games. This after he had a whopping 17 goals in 14 games from November 16th to December 15th.
As long as he gets hot when it matters most, the Caps should be fine and another threat in the playoffs. Their opponents tonight, the Bruins, have been quietly going about their business with wins in eight of their last ten games. They are just 2 points behind the Maple Leafs going into Thursday. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Bruins pick on Thursday night in the NHL.
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins Pick
The Bruins haven’t gotten much attention, but they’ve been playing hockey lately worth noting. They’re doing it in a traditional way that hasn’t been as noticeable on the ice this season. Most teams don’t mind getting into high-scoring games, but the Bruins would rather grind it out and use their defence to win games. A lot has changed in the NHL in the last decade, though the Bruins have still kept their identity as a physical defensive team. This isn’t the 2010 Bruins, but they are still one of the best in the league at playing physical hockey.
Boston are 2nd in the league with 2.56 goals allowed per game. At home the Bruins have been especially good, with 3.62 goals scored per game and 2.2 goals allowed. That equals a solid record of 16-5-0 at TD Garden. During their 8-2 run, they’ve scored 3.6 goals per game and 2.2 goals, so pretty much consistent with that. The return of Patrice Bergeron to the starting lineup has given the Bruins a lift. Along with Bergeron, Zdeno Chara recently returned after missing 19 games.
The Capitals have been decent on the road with a mark of 13-6-2. They have notched 3.38 goals per game while allowing 3.14 goals on the road. Their last several efforts on the road haven’t been their best, though, with near losses against the Senators and Red Wings, along with losses to the Blues and Stars.
I expect the Bruins to be amped up for this matchup against the Capitals. They want a stage to show that they are for real. I think the price in this game is telling. Oddsmakers are likely aware that they don’t have to set the game at the current price to attract Washington money. So, why then are they a fairly decent underdog here? Probably to attract even more money on the Caps. At least the oddsmakers have been paying attention to the Bruins lately. Give me the home team in this big showdown on Thursday night in Boston.