The Washington Capitals were one team that didn’t want to see the All-Star break. There are two type of teams, those who are in desperate need of time off to regroup, or those who are so hot that they don’t want a break. The Capitals are a team who wished there was no break and they played through. Alexander Ovechkin didn’t even take part in the All-Star festivities. Ovechkin was suspended for a game due to voluntary pulling out of the game. What resulted from the suspension was a loss for the Caps against the Florida Panthers. It wasn’t a close loss either, they got shelled 5-2 in the losing effort. Alexander made his presence felt right away as he scored the winner against the Islanders in his return last game. The Capitals will look to build up another winning streak and make it two in a row with a win against the New Jersey Devils.
The Capitals are 36-9-3 on the season, and they aren’t there by mistake. The Caps have looked like the best team in the first-half of the season. However, a lot of people will say the Blackhawks are the better team just by asserting how well the Hawks have done in the playoffs than the Capitals have. It is a fair statement to make, the Blackhawks have been the epitome of clutch come the postseason, and the Capitals are on the other end of the spectrum. Chokers is one way of putting it. That tag would be magnified tenfold if they struggle yet again that time of the year. For the Devils, making the playoffs would be a pretty good accomplishment for them. They are, what I would say, one of the most underrates teams in the NHL at 26-20-1. The Devils are coming off a 3-2 against the Leafs in Toronto after falling in a shootout. They make their return to New Jersey Saturday afternoon with a worthy opponent paying a visit to them. Note the early afternoon start time of this one.
Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils NHL Pick
The Devils are a couple of players away from being a very good, threat in the NHL. A couple of nice offensive weapons would propel them to playoff territory. You notice how the Devils got an instant surge of productivity once Cammalleri returned to the lineup. However, we can note that there is much room for improvement. The Devils are 29nd in the league in goals scored per game with 2.25 goals.
The Capitals are pretty impressive on the defensive end, so the Devils are going to need to rely on some breaks to go their way. Get to the power play and catch a couple bounces here and there. Washington is 2nd in the NHL defensively, allowing only 2.24 goals per game. Holtby holds a 2.07 GAA and 31-5-3 record The Devils are right behind them with the 3rd best defense in the NHL. However, the major difference in this game are the offenses. The Capitals own the best offense, 1st in the NHL with 3.29 goals scored per game. I suspect after getting suspended, Ovechkin has even more motivation to keep up his torrid pace. I like the Capitals to take this one on the east coast Saturday afternoon.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -145