The Washington Capitals welcome the Calgary Flames to Capitol One Arena for a Sunday night showdown in the NHL. Calgary are on a back-to-back, having played last night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. It was a successful night against the Jackets, with the Flames getting out of Columbus with a 3-0 win. The shutout goes to David Rittich between the pipes, as he played a phenomenal game. Rittich stopped 43 shots he had coming his way, and will enjoy a much deserved day off Sunday. The Flames could have gone with Rittich against the better offensive team today, though they wanted Rittich out there for the more winnable game.
Former Edmonton Oiler, Cam Talbot, is expected to get the nod for the Flames in Washington this evening. Rittich is the clear No. 1 in Calgary, but it’d be nice if they can get Talbot going. He hasn’t finished with a GAA below 3.00 since 2016-17 with the Oilers. Talbot posted a 2.39 GAA that year and has regressed ever since. He’s on a quest to show that he can still be a reliable netminder this season. I think Talbot would have preferred getting the Blue Jackets last night instead of the Capitals today, though. He will face a serious test against one of the hottest offences in the NHL on Sunday.
The Flames should have some confidence coming into this one, though. They clawed from behind against the Predators in Nashville to erase a 4-1 hole and then blanked the Blue Jackets last night. A couple of different ways to get wins, but they all count the same in the win column. This is going to be their stiffest challenge yet, especially having to play the Capitals on a back-to-back. The Caps are coming off a 6-1 win over the Sabres on Friday night, so they’re feeling sharp and had the day off Saturday. We’ll see if the Flames can disrupt their momentum on Sunday. Head below for our free Flames vs. Capitals pick.
Calgary Flames vs. Washington Capitals Pick
The Flames were slow starters this season, but have built up some momentum recently. Since the 3rd period in Nashville, the Flames have outscored their opponents by a score margin of 8-1. Calgary scored 3 goals in the 3rd period against the Predators, added a winner in overtime on a beautiful Matthew Tkachuk goal, and then a 3-0 win last night. However, they must be on their best game to get a win on Sunday. Coming into this matchup, the Capitals are on a three-game win streak and have wins in seven of their previous eight games.
Washington have been getting amazing production out of their offence. Their playmakers are enjoying a nice run with goals filling the net with ease recently. The Capitals have scored at least at least 4 goals in seven of their last eight games. We need to go all the way back to October 5th for the last time the Caps have notched fewer than 3 goals in an outing. Going back to ten games ago, the Caps have averaged 4.4 goals per game since that point. Overall on the year, they’re 1st in the NHL with an average of 3.93 goals a game.
The Flames have allowed 3.33 goals per game on the road this season, so that was an outlier showing for them against the Blue Jackets. That was all Rittich who had to stop 43 shots to preserve the scoreless effort for the Flames. Rittich will be on the bench tonight, as Talbot gets an opportunity in net Sunday. Don’t expect a repeat performance by Talbot against this red-hot Capitals team.
Braden Holtby has been iffy this season and iffy against the Flames in his career, so that looks like the opening they need to pull off the upset here. Holtby owns a 3.30 GAA and 0.895 save percentage in 2019-20. In ten appearances against the Flames, he’s posted a 3.05 GAA and 0.894 save percentage. And while the Washington offence is hot, they’ve been just okay in the defensive zone. They’ve allowed 32.4 shots per game and 3.1 goals per game in their previous ten games. Finding a total of 6 in this contest looks like a deal and you can get it at 22bet. With that in mind, the OVER is solid value here.