The Washington Capitals are back at T-Mobile Arena on Monday night to compete against the Vegas Golden Knights. This is where the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018, as Alex Ovechkin finally got his hands on the Lord’s Stanley Cup. It was a long time coming for Ovechkin and the Capitals. There was a lot of heartbreak and choking over the years by the Capitals, but they were finally able to put it together to defeat the upset minded Golden Knights.
It was quite an accomplishment for the Golden Knights to get there, as they shocked the hockey world in their expansion campaign. They looked like a team of destiny, though Ovechkin and company had to ruin the party. Either scenario would have made for a nice storyline, with either an expansion team winning the Stanley Cup or Ovechkin finally getting to the top of the hill.
Washington has a legitimate chance of going back to the Stanley Cup Final. It seems like they’re going to avoid the Presidents’ Trophy, so we can chalk that up as a win? For the Capitals to win the Cup in 2018, it took staying away from the top of the standings in the regular season to find success in the playoffs. There wasn’t so much pressure and no Presidents’ Trophy curse to contend with then.
In the greatest example of the curse, the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t win one game as the winner of the Presidents’ Trophy last season. If the Boston Bruins finish with the most points in the NHL and then lose to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs, we know that the curse is real. The Bruins are currently 3 points ahead of the Lightning for the top spot in the league. The Capitals continue to lead the Metropolitan Division, but are hanging on by a thread. Pittsburgh, who have slowly reeled the Capitals in, are almost there as they have 78 points to the Capitals’ 79 points going into Monday.
The Capitals were losers on Saturday in their first stop in the desert by a score of 3-1. Despite not having to deal with Darcy Kuemper between the pipes, the Capitals’ offence was held in check with just 1 goal by Carl Hagelin. Ovechkin was held off the stat sheet for the fourth straight game. That could just be the calm before the storm, though, so don’t be surprised if Ovechkin starts a goal explosion soon.
We’ll see if it happens against a familiar foe on Monday night in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights earned 2 big points with a 1-0 win over the Islanders on Saturday night. Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been the subject of criticism recently, stood up tall for one of his most impressive outings of the season. The Golden Knights need more of that from him down the stretch. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Golden Knights pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Capitals vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
I wouldn’t be too worried about the Capitals, but if the Penguins come and steal the division away, that’s not going to be a shocker. After having a comfortable lead in the division for the duration of the season, the Capitals are in danger of losing it this week. The Penguins are within a point of the Caps following a 5-1 win against the Red Wings on Sunday. Washington has lost three of their last four games, and are just 3-5-0 in their last eight contests. That’s not the picture we saw from these guys earlier in the season. There has been some concern of a slow down since December.
After going on a six-game winning streak towards the end of November, the Capitals have been kind of average leading to a slow but steady comeback by the Penguins in the Metropolitan. That said, the Capitals are a team that could explode at any moment. They certainly are equipped with the talent to do that.
The Capitals are tied for 3rd with 3.5 goal scored per game. We didn’t see the Capitals playing to their strengths on Saturday night in Arizona. In any event, the Capitals’ offence has been potent recently, with 3.5 goals per game in their last ten games, so they’ve been consistent in that regard.
Where they’ve been anything but consistent is in the defensive zone. The defence has been struggling from the start of the season, so this has been nothing new for the Capitals, but the same issues persist. The Capitals have surrendered 3.02 goals per game on the season. Braden Holtby, who is scheduled to get the nod in net tonight, has been off the mark with a 3.11 GAA and 0.897 save percentage in 2019-20. He is well on his way to setting a new career-low in his ten-year career.
In the Capitals’ last ten outings, they’ve gotten pushed around for 3.7 goals against. They looked better versus the Arizona Coyotes, but how much of that was as a result of their opponent? The Coyotes have looked offensively challenged often. Vegas has netted 3.33 goals per game at T-Mobile Arena in 2019-20, though they’ve allowed just about the same number of goals.
Fleury has not been as good at home, as he’s posted a 3.00 GAA and 0.899 save percentage as opposed to a 2.51 GAA and 0.915 save percentage. There has been an average of 7.4 goals scored in the last five meetings between the Capitals and Golden Knights, with all games going OVER the total. Look for both offences to wake up after slow performances in their most recent outings. Expect another high-scoring game which results in a 4-3 or 5-3 final on Monday night in Las Vegas.