The Washington Capitals hope to keep it going and not miss a beat in New Jersey. They’ll try to avoid a letdown spot, after they beat the Vegas Golden Knights in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final from last season. Different season, same result for the Capitals, who earned a 5-2 win. It looked like the Knights cut it to a 4-3 game, but after further review, it was declared that Vegas were offside and the goal didn’t count.
Things aren’t coming as easily as they did last season in the early stages of the year. Everybody immediately gelled and they were flying around the ice. They’re playing a bit slow and lethargic, like they’re still hungover from losing this past spring. It’s really early, though, but they don’t look like the same cohesive unit from a year ago.
The Capitals on the other hand look like a team who just won the Stanley Cup and want to win another. The Penguins certainly don’t look like a team who are going to stand in their way this season. After years of getting frustrated by them, the tables have seemed to turn. How they get by with that defence and Matt Murray is anyone’s guess.
The success that the Devils had last season was largely overshadowed by what the Knights were doing. They had a breakout season as well, finishing 44-29-9 to earn a trip to the playoffs. The Devils had the unfortunate privilege of having to play the Lightning, which resulted in a 4-1 series loss. Taylor Hall finally quieted the doubters by winning the Hart Trophy. He’s faced criticism since his days in Edmonton, and he stuck it to them with that season. The Devils opened up the year with a 5-2 win over the Oilers to start the year. They’ve been off since Friday, so it’s one team on a back-to-back and another has had an extended break. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Devils pick.
Washington Capitals vs. N.J. Devils Pick
Ovechkin and Kuznetsov had themselves a night last season. Kuznetsov led the caps with 4 points, a goal and 3 assists. Meanwhile, Ovechkin found the back of the net for 2 goals. There were three other players who recorded 2 points as well. The offence is going to be difficult to slow down all season long, so defences are going to have their hands full. Look for the Capitals to go to their backup goaltender, Phoenix Copley, tonight.
Copley has been a minor leaguer for the majority of his career. The 26-year-old will get only his third NHL appearance after two with the Blues in the past two years. He allowed 5 goals in his lone start last season, which brought his GAA to 5.09. The Devils had one of the more underrated offences in hockey last season, so don’t sleep on them giving Copley a hard time in this game.
Keith Kinkaid is expected to get the start for the Devils tonight. The starting job is his while Cory Schneider is on the mend. He might have a small chance of playing tonight as they have been extending his workload in practice. Kinkaid owns a 0.895 save percentage in one start this season, leading the Devils to a 5-2 win over the Oilers.
He faced only 19 shots in that game, though. He’s likely going to see a lot more shots tonight against the Capitals’ offence. And with that, more scoring chances around his crease. He’s done a horrible job in five appearances against the Capitals, with a 3.95 GAA and 0.864 save percentage. If Schneider does indeed get the start for the Devils, he hasn’t been great against the Caps either. He has posted a 2.68 GAA and 0.905 save percentage, so that’s definitely better, but it could improve. The total in this game is 5.5 over at 888sport as I write this, which I believe provides good value on the OVER in this matchup. This likely moves to 6 at most sportsbooks.