The Washington Capitals continue their tour of the west coast with a meeting with the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. It has been one heck of a start for the Capitals this season, getting out to a 5-1 start in 2015. Last night they beat the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-2. Coming from behind in the 3rd period down a goal. That is great and all, but as we have come to find, the Washington Capitals haven’t been defined by the regular season. As if any Capital fan needs any reminding about how they’ve been in the playoffs. But if you don’t mind, the Capitals have been absolutely putrid when facing really important games. The Caps finished with an impressive mark of 45-26-11 but didn’t make the most of it in the playoffs, bowing out against the Rangers in 7 games. Alexander Ovechkin can’t catch a break, whether it is international play with Russia or in the NHL, Ovechkin hasn’t been able to hit that marquee level yet. He isn’t getting any younger, so I’m afraid the window of opportunity is going to be closing on him. But this is still a guy that scored 53 goals a year ago. It was the second straight year he scored 50 goals and the sixth time in his career he has hit the 50 goal mark.
For all of those personal accomplishments, he still doesn’t have a ring to show for it. They are going to be making the playoffs, I’m saying that much now, so once again it’ll come down to what happens then. Their opponents today, the Edmonton Oilers, would be overjoyed if they just make it to the playoffs. It would most certainly be a win for them after finishing at the back of the NHL a year ago. Their reward for being so bad was Connor McDavid. He has been as advertised in the first weeks of his NHL career. McDavid has 4 goals in 7 games, along with 2 assists on the season. I don’t know if he was too thrilled about going to Edmonton, but the Oilers are more than happy that they were able to nab him. It should be a good game tonight, as this could mean a big win for the Oilers over a surging Washington squad.
Washington Capitals vs. Edmonton Oilers Pick
They have a good night to play the Capitals due to the fact that Braden Holtby is getting the night off. In his place is backup goaltender Grubauer who I think is going to turn out to be an excellent goalie in the NHL. He appeared in 17 games a year ago, posting a 2.38 GAA. Grubauer should have plenty of goal support in front of him, as the Capitals have been playing well offensively. The Caps are averaging 3.67 goals per game. They have scored four or more goals in four of six games. Ovechkin has already notched 4 goals on the year.
The Oilers have now won three straight games to bring them to a record of 3-4, certainly a nice turnaround to a 0-4 start. I think once McDavid and the rest of his teammates get acclimated a little better and get into a rhythm, the Oilers aren’t going to be a bad team at all. A playoff team? No not yet, but at least a team on the ice that won’t get booed every night like last season. With Holtby resting, the Oilers may be able to find some offense tonight. As well, the defense should be tired from this west coast trip. Usually the defense is the one to suffer in instances like this. I like the game to go OVER the total of 5.5.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)