Capitals vs. Senators NHL Pick – January 31, 2020

The Washington Capitals are in Ottawa tonight for their second meeting against the Senators this season. Capital One Arena hosted the first on January 7, with the Capitals running away from the Senators for an easy 6-1 win. The Capitals deserved the win, and they certainly didn’t allow the final score to be much of a question.

As a team, the Capitals peppered Craig Anderson and Mitch Hogberg for 41 shots, with six of them finding a way in. Anderson was benched after allowing 5 goals on 30 shots for a 0.833 save percentage. Since that loss, not much has been different for the Senators. They’ve lost 10 of their last 12 games, though did show up to defeat the Sabres by a score of 5-2 in their most recent showing.

Anderson was finally able to put together a solid outing for the Senators. That was only his second start since getting hammered by the Capitals. The Vegas Golden Knights netted 4 goals on him following the loss against Washington, so his confidence was at an all-time low. Getting the win against the Sabres was needed for Anderson, who has largely been dealing with a lot of struggles in 2019-20.

Hogberg hasn’t been an adequate option for the Senators as their No. 1 goaltender either, so it’s been difficult between weak goaltending and blueline. He is currently listed as probable to get the nod against the Capitals on Friday night. Anderson had no answer in the previous meeting. We’ll see if Hogberg can perform better in this one, which the Senators are going to need for the upset.

The Capitals are coming off a tough 5-4 loss against the Predators on Wednesday. It was their first loss since a 5-1 loss against the Devils to disrupt a potential five-game winning streak. The Capitals are comfortable atop the Metropolitan Division with a record of 34-12-5 and 73 points. Pittsburgh is on their heels at 67 points, but have had to deal with a rash of injuries this season. A healthy Penguins team is likely right there with the Capitals, so they catch a break. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Senators pick.

Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators Betting Odds:

Spread:

  • Capitals -1.5 (+135)
  • Senators +1.5 (-155)
Moneyline:

  • Capitals (-180)
  • Senators (+160)
Total Points:

  • Over 6.5 (-120)
  • Under 6.5 (+100)

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Capitals vs. Senators Prediction:

Coincidentally enough, Alexander Ovechkin did not participate in their win against the Montreal Canadiens following the All-Star break. He was given a one-game suspension because of sitting out the All-Star Game despite a healthy body. It didn’t matter, as the Capitals topped the Canadiens for a 4-2 win.

When he did return to the ice, the defence broke down and the Capitals lost 5-4. Don’t read too far into that, though, the Capitals are a much better team with Ovechkin, obviously. I will say that the Capitals have been too reliant on their offence this season. They’ve won some blowouts, but the Capitals have also gotten into a lot of high-scoring games that have been tight.

Braden Holtby needs to figure it out in the crease down the stretch. 22-year-old Ilya Samsonov has been getting more work in this season, and may force the Capitals to go with him as the full-time option soon. He holds a terrific 2.07 GAA and 0.927 save percentage as opposed to a 3.11 GAA and 0.896 save percentage for Holtby.

The Capitals don’t want to bench a guy who has done so much for the franchise, but if they want to win this season, Samsonov may give them the best chance. Any goaltender would love to play for a team that provides so much in the way of goal support. Despite Holtby’s inferior numbers, he still has a record of 19-10-4. The Capitals are 5th in the NHL with 3.57 goals scored per game. In their previous ten games, they’ve enjoyed an average of 3.9 goals per contest. That should bode well against a leaky Senators’ defence in this one.

Hogberg is likely to have a tricky assignment on Friday night. The 25-year-old has posted a 2.90 GAA and 0.912 save percentage. He’s only seen the Capitals twice in his career, having notched a 3.13 GAA and 0.886 save percentage in two games. If the Sens opt to go with Anderson in net, he’s been even worse with a 3.25 GAA and 0.899 save percentage. An upset by the home team is likely going to have to occur with their offence.

The Capitals have been beatable defensively on the road, with 3.04 goals against per game this season. Although, their offensive production has increased to 3.65 goals per game on the road in 2019-20, so Ottawa is going to have a lot of stress in the defensive zone. While the Capitals are a tad too expensive for my liking, expect the OVER to get there regardless on Friday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

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The Bet
OVER 6.5
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.