Capitals vs. Flyers NHL Pick – March 11, 2021

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That’s the kind of night we wanted to get back on the right track!

We went 2-0 with a pair of moneyline favorites last night, netting us a two-unit profit that edges us closer to profit territory for the season.

Our night began with a pick that ended up being closer than expected given how the game looked midway through the third period. We had the Wild on the moneyline (-105) in Vegas, and Minny never trailed in the game. They led by 1-0, 2-1 and even 4-1 midway through the third, but the Golden Knights crawled back within one with a pair of quick third-period goals. At the end of the day, the Wild held on for a 4-3 win and edged closer to Vegas at the top of that West Division.

Our next pick didn’t require a sweat, at least not during the game. Shortly before puck drop, the Kings announced goaltender Cal Petersen entered NHL protocols, a move that thrust third-string netminder Troy Grosenick into his first NHL action since 2014.

However, despite the surprising start, Grosenick was excellent in turning aside 33 of the 34 shots he faced while the Kings’ offense ensured their goaltender had enough goal support in a 5-1 Kings moneyline win at -129.

We have more opportunities to get a win streak going on a 10-game NHL schedule tonight, so let’s dive into this Capitals vs. Flyers NHL Pick from Philadelphia!

  • Season Record: 20-23
  • Units: -3.88

Capitals vs. Flyers Betting Odds

  • Capitals (+107)
  • Flyers (-118)
  • Capitals +1.5 (-225)
  • Flyers -15 (+195)
  • Over 6 (-109)
  • Under 6 (-101)

Capitals vs. Flyers NHL Pick Breakdown

Capitals

Offense

The Capitals’ offense is coming off a five-goal output in an overtime win over the Devils on Tuesday, but it might be the lone power play goal on two opportunties that bodes best for them moving forward.

They own the league’s seventh-ranked power play at 27%, however prior to Tuesday, they were 0 for 11 over their previous six games. I was an unusual cold spell for a healthy offense with plenty of fire power, but perhaps the power play tally their last time out can get that high-octane unit going moving forward.

The offensive picture is certainly interesting in Washington. Of course, with that top-six forward group, we’ve come to expect a potent offensive attack in D.C., and that’s largely been the case as Washington sits eighth in the league with 3.28 goals per game on the season.

However, the underlying metrics don’t exactly support that figure.

At 5v5, the Capitals rank 27th in scoring chances for/60, 24th in high-danger chances for/60 and 25th in expected goals for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. Their 2.79 goals/60 mark is well above their 2.02 expected mark, so while the power play seems to have boosted their overall offensive results, it appears their 5v5 offense could regress moving forward.

Goalless in his last four, Alex Ovechkin is due to get back to scoring goals, especially on the power play as he’s scored just two power play goals in 21 games, good for an eight power-play goal pace in a full 82-game season. The Great 8 has scored at least 13 power play goals in each of his previous nine seasons, so I’d be surprised if he went much longer without hammering one home on the man advantage.

Defense

The Caps got through the first half of the game largely unscathed defensively on Tuesday, but allowed three unanswered regulation goals that sent the game into overtime where they salvaged the two points on a Jakub Vrana breakaway goal.

The overall results haven’t been great as Washington sits 23rd with 3.12 goals against per game on the season despite a strong penalty kill that ranks ninth at 82.7%. Such a circumstance would perhaps suggest that their 5v5 defense has struggled, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, they’ve been quite stout defensively at even strength this season.

At 5v5, the Caps rank fourth in scoring chances against/60, seventh in high-danger chances against/60 and sixth in expected goals against/60 on the campaign. Their 2.50 goals against/60 mark on the season is well above their 1.96 expected mark, so it would appear that Washington deserves a far better even-strength defensive fate than they’ve received to this point.

Without any current ailments within their top-six, the Capitals’ back end will surely look to respond after nearly blowout a three-goal lead to an inferior Devils team their last time out.

Goaltending

After reading the above you might be wondering: why such a large cap between their overall defense and the underlying metrics? The answer largely lies between the pipes.

Rookie Vitek Vanecek was thrust into No. 1 duties this season after starter Ilya Samsonov was placed into protocols early after presumed backup Henrik Lundqvist announced he would miss the season due to a heart condition before the campaign began.

Vanecek came out hot out of the gate, but stumbled since. He’s largely responsible for the Capitals’ 25th-ranked .911 Sv% at 5v5 this season, but after he allowed four goals to the Devils on Tuesday, it will be Samsonov getting back between the pipes tonight.

He’s made just four starts and appeared in five games this season, but the 24-year-old Samsonov is coming off his best outing of the season in which he turned aside 36 of 37 shots (.937 Sv%) in a 3-1 in this exact matchup against the Flyers in Philly on Sunday.

For the season, the Russian owns a 2.45 and .907 Sv%, but also worked to a 2.55 GAA and .913 Sv% as a rookie in 26 appearances. His rookie season entailed a hot start followed by a slow finish, but as the team’s goaltender of the future, the Caps should be in good hands moving forward.

Flyers

Offense

Like the Caps, the Flyers are putting the puck in the net at a top-10 rate so far this season.

In fact, the Flyers sit just one spot behind the Capitals at ninth with 3.26 goals per game on the season, although their 18.3% clip on the power play puts them into a tie of 21st alongside the San Jose Sharks.

Again, like their opponent, it appears the Flyers have scored more than they’ve deserved at this juncture.

At 5v5, the Flyers rank 23rd in scoring chances for/60, 21st in high-danger chances for/60 and 22nd in expected goals for/60. Their 2.89 goals/60 at 5v5 this season is well above their 2.07 mark, and there’s a big reason why: shooting rates.

Philly leads the NHL in both overall 5v5 shooting rate — by a wide margin — and 5v5 high-danger shooting rates. Their 11.37% overall rate is one of two numbers even in double-digits in the NHL and well above the NHL leader from last season in the Tampa Bay Lightning who shot at 9.71%. Their 25.71% high-danger clip is also well above last year’s leader — the Nashville Predators — who posted a rate of 22.22%.

We’re only talking about a couple of percentage points, but it’s certainly a big deal and I’d be shocked if this Flyers offense didn’t slow down moving forward.

Defense

After posting some of the best defensive numbers in the NHL last season, the Flyers have been a little below league average in many defensive categories this season, but on the surface and underneath.

Overall, the Flyers sit 20th with 3.09 goals against per game on the season, but their penalty kill has been a major issue as their 73% PK rate puts them 26th league wide. Perhaps that is the area they miss Matt Niskanen the most after his sudden retirement announcement this past offseason.

The advanced numbers more or less add up to the surface figure on this occasion. At 5v5, the Flyers rank 20th in high-danger chances against/60 and 21st in expected goals against/60. That said, it’s worth noting that their 2.78 goals against/60 mark is well above their 2.24 expected mark, but at the rate they’re giving up chances combined with the weak penalty kill, it’s not a surprise to see this back end approaching bottom-third territory.

It’s also a scuffling group that the moment as they have allowed at least three goals in each of their last five games with an average of 3.80 goals against per game during that time as they look to get things straightened out tonight.

Goaltending

In fairness, the Flyers’ defense has taken a hit due to the continued struggled of young goaltender Carter Hart who allowed four goals on just 20 shots to the lowly Buffalo Sabres before his team rallied to win that one 5-4 in shootout.

While Hart struggles, it’s been a wonderful campaign to this point for veteran backup Brian Elliott who gets the starting nod for this one tonight.

Elliott’s season includes a 2.29 GAA and .919 Sv% across eight starts while he’s also been thrown into relief duty on three occasions due to Hart’s ongoing issues. However, you wonder if the regression has already kicked in for the 35-year-old veteran.

Elliot is far removed from his career-year that saw him work to a 2.07 GAA and .930 Sv% with the 2015-16 St. Louis Blues, and he’s largely scuffled since. Perhaps he’s re-discovered some form this season, however he’s struggled over his last three outings, posting a 2.94 GAA and .882 Sv% in three March appearances so far (two starts).

He’s a big reason as to why the Flyers have hung in there in the difficult East Division, but even his current numbers seem rather unsustainable moving forward.

Capitals vs. Flyers NHL Pick

The teams matchup fairly evenly on the surface so far this season except in one area: special teams.

As noted, we’ll have the Capitals’ seventh-ranked power play — one that snapped a cold streak their last time out — up against the Flyers’ 26th-ranked penalty kill.

The flip side isn’t so lopsided as the Flyers’ T-21st-ranked power play takes on the Capitals’ ninth-ranked penalty kill. However, if the Flyers get into any sort of penalty trouble tonight this one could be over in a hurry.

Not only that, but I like the goaltending situation here for Washington. Elliott’s numbers are good, but on the decline while Samsonov is coming off his best effort in a small sample-sized season in this very matchup on Sunday. It doesn’t guarantee a repeat, of course, but I’m taking Samsonov over Elliott all day long.

Add in the superior defensive work this Capitals defense has put in this season and I like the slight road underdogs at valuable odds to win this one tonight.

The Bet
CAPITALS
+107
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.