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Capitals vs. Bruins Pick – NHL January 5th

The Washington Capitals are facing adversity, if you want to call it that. The Capitals have lost two straight games, which feels like a huge skid for them given the way things have been going for them this year. Despite the two losses, the Caps still own a 28-7-2 record. Things can change fast in the NHL, though. I’ll be interesting in seeing how the Capitals perform out of the All-Star break. Even more interesting will be what they do in the playoffs. If they fail to do anything in the playoffs this season. And what I mean by not do anything is failing to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. By this point, simply winning one game in the playoffs isn’t going to cut it. Alexander Ovechkin needs to have that Stanley Cup on his resume to avoid being called one of the best players, yet biggest chokers in the NHL. It isn’t just at the professional level, Ovechkin has struggled to clinch a big game at the international level either. While Sidney Crosby gets hot right now, Ovie has been hot the whole season. There is nevertheless a few things that Crosby has that Ovechkin is still searching for.

The Capitals will try to tend their two game winless run against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins’ season started out in some disarray, but they’ve since been doing alright. The Bruins haven’t looked quite as proficient this season but I don’t think there were many people that saw them as a team that could go on a championship run this season. They lost their blue line, and have been trying to rebuild it this season, it’s been a work in progress for them. Boston still has the wily veteran Zdeno Chara, and they are very fortunate they do, because the Bruins could have very well had the worst defense this season without him around roaming the blue line. There is just a lot of youth on defense that needs to be developed.

Chara is certainly a nice leader to have to have. But it’s been the offense, not the defense, being the catalyst for them for the majority of the season. Also, Tuukka Rask has to be better. He is a better goalie than the way he’s been playing this season. Allowing 5 goals to the Canadiens in the Winter Classic on New Year’s looked pretty bad on him. There were a couple he let in that he would have normally saved. Both teams are coming off losses heading into tonight, the Caps a 5-4 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets, and a 5-1 loss to the Canadiens for the Bruins. Big layoff for the Bruins, as they haven’t played since the 1st, we’ll see if they come out rusty against the Capitals.

Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins NHL Pick

Alexander Ovechkin has been having a productive season once again in 2015-16. He has scored 21 goals and 13 assists, trying to keep up with Jamie Benn of the Stars who has 24 goals. The Capital offense has been near the top statistically all long, as they have been averaging 3.13 goals per game, 2nd in the NHL trailing to only the Stars in the goal scoring department. The defense has been playing at a high level as well for the Capitals. The defense has allowed 2.16 goals per game for 2nd in the NHL. The Panthers are in 1st, allowing 2.15 per game. In their Capitals last ten games they’ve scored 3.60 goals per game while allowing only 2 a game.

The Bruins are losers of four of their last five games. That looks like the kind of way they were playing to open the season, especially in the goals allowed department. In those five games they allowed an average of 3.8 goals per game. I think in this scenario, you have to take a look at the price and try to take advantage. We aren’t going to find the Capitals as cheap favorites often. I’m going to ride with the Caps to get back in the win column.

PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -110