A full slate of NHL action tonight after just a single game on the schedule last night. The main event in the sports world was MNF, which wasn’t the most attractive game, with the Chicago Bears playing the San Diego Chargers. Blah, I didn’t watch much of that game at all, and I’m glad I didn’t. The Chargers ended up losing to the Bears at home, which signals another team in disarray this season. Is it just me, or is there a lot of bad teams in the NFL this season. There are a few favorites and then the rest of the league seems to have no chance. Maybe the Giants find a way in and pull off another miracle? In any case, I will get to that more in my NFL write-ups later this week. For tonight we get back to NHL, where the Washington Capitals meet up with the Red Wings in Detroit. It has been quite the start for the Capitals, as they have asserted themselves atop the standings with a record of 10-3-0. Great, but what are they going to do later in the season? We haven’t even hit the middle of November yet, so I would reserve judgement on the Capitals. I fully expect them to continue playing good hockey throughout the regular season. However, the playoffs have been different altogether for the Caps.
Deciphering if they’re going to make it to the finals is like playing roulette. No one knows where the ball is going to land, and no one knows if the puck is going to bounce in the direction of the Capitals this season. Where there is still an unknown surrounding the Capitals, there is no unknown with the Detroit Red Wings. Rookie head coach Jeff Blashill has taken over behind the bench after the departure of Mike Babcock. I didn’t feel confident in him before the season and still don’t. Although, we need a full season or two to completely get a good idea of Blashill. A healthy Pavel Datsyuk would help, too.
It’s a switch going from Babcock to a guy who was coaching in the AHL previously. Babcock got the most out of a team that didn’t have the most talent in the NHL. He always had the young guys producing. I know Datsyuk and Zetterberg are talented, but Babcock got the so called role players, like Nyquist going. Also, Pavel has been hurt plenty the last few seasons, like he is now. I’m not sure if Blashill can turn into a coach who makes the team better. For him to succeed, he’s going to need a great team in front of him. Right now that isn’t the Red Wings. However, at 7-6-1 the Red Wings aren’t in the worst spot. I don’t see them becoming much of anything, I’d feel confident with Babcock, but we’ll see what happens. They are an interesting team this season with a future that is hard to make a prediction. The Capitals and Red Wings meet tonight at the Joe Louis Arena. Get the pick here.
Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL Pick
The problem with the Wings has been easy to see, they don’t have any offensive firepower to take them anywhere. Blashill has to compile a game plan to get the offense going, but I don’t see many adjustments on the ice for the Red Wings. In their last ten games, in half of them they scored only 1 goal. Note that in those ten games they averaged only 1.7 goals per game in regulation. Jimmy Howard isn’t a miracle worker in net. He’s a good goalie, but not good enough to carry them. But there may not be a goalie in the league that can help out an offense who are playing that badly. The Red Wings are 23rd in the NHL in scoring, and while that of course isn’t the worst, it has been a consistent number for them. It hasn’t been like they have gone on a big offensive run to bring their average up.
Conversely, the Capitals have been scoring the puck well. In their last ten games they have scored an average of 3.2 goals in regulation, not taking into account overtimes. The thing about the Caps thus far is that they have been able to win games in a matter of two ways. They can play the low scoring contest and grind out a win, or they can get into a game that mimics up and down frozen pond hockey. In that, they can adapt to their opponent. Heck, they even won a game on Saturday against the Leafs by scoring a goal with 1 second left on the clock to tie it, then win in OT. The Capitals have dominated this series, dating back to 2010 when the Red Wings had a very good team. In their last ten meetings the Caps are 7-3. Braden Holtby and his 2.10 GAA should be in net for Washington tonight. I don’t see the Wings doing much in the way of offense. I like the Capitals in Detroit.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -131