The sizzling hot Washington Capitals set their sights on the Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena on Saturday night. Washington are playing like a Stanley Cup favourite early in the 2019-20 season. They enter Saturday with a prolific record of 12-2-3. There isn’t much that the rest of the league can do when the Capitals are hungry and focused. Alexander Ovechkin and his teammates got to drink out of the Stanley Cup in 2018 and look ready to get back to that point. The same core is intact and they seem to have plenty of gas left in the tank.
They won that series against an unlikely expansion team in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights defied near impossible odds to reach the Stanley Cup Final with a group of outcasts. Ovechkin and the Capitals just wanted it that much more, though. No one was going to deny them, and it showed with their effort on the ice.
When they have that mindset, the Capitals are the most dangerous team in the NHL to beat. And last season, I never really got the impression that the Capitals were that hungry in the playoffs. The Capitals fell out of the playoffs in double overtime in Game 7 against the Hurricanes a season ago. The surprise team didn’t get them the previous season, but fell victim to a surprise Hurricane team last year.
With this in mind, it’s important not to overreact and get too excited over the Capitals. We’re only at November 9th on the NHL calendar and we’ve seen the Capitals dominate the regular season only to falter in the postseason before. The Tampa Bay Lightning did a pretty good job of that last season, but the Presidents’ Trophy has been a curse to the Caps as well. In any event, their offence has been incredibly efficient. They’ve been consistently performing at this level. The Golden Knights will have their hands full. Having to play the Capitals in the midst of a four-game road trip doesn’t help matters. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Capitals pick.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals Pick
The Golden Knights played a competitive game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs in a 2-1 overtime loss. It just wasn’t meant to be against Frederik Andersen on that night. Andersen played out of his mind for the Leafs, as he made 37 saves for the home team. Let’s not ignore the goaltender on the losing side, though. Marc-Andre Fleury did all he could with 35 saves with the game turning into a goaltending duel. Capitals’ games have been anything but this season. They’ve turned up the excitement level with some thrilling outings, especially if you’re a Capitals’ fan.
Washington have had one of the best offences in the NHL just over a month into the regular season. They’ve scored an average of 4 goals per game, which has them in a tie with the Predators for the top spot offensively. Most recently, the Capitals have been the better and more consistent offence. In their previous ten outings, the Capitals have converted for an insane 4.6 goals scored per game. In 9 of those 10 games, they scored 4 or more goals. The one game they didn’t score more than 4 goals, they came up short in a 4-3 loss against the Oilers.
Fleury has been playing well, but it’s hard to see him slowing down this Capitals team. There hasn’t been an opposing team to hold the Capitals to fewer than 3 goals since October 4th. The Islanders made an impressive showing to hold the Capitals to 1 goal in a 2-1 contest. Little do the Islanders know that they were going to be the only team to hold the Caps to less than 3 goals by November 9th. While the Capitals own the best record in the NHL have been on fire offensively, it hasn’t happened without some blemishes.
Braden Holtby has been less than stellar and they’re likely going to need him if they want another Stanley Cup. Holtby has been shaky with a 3.36 GAA and 0.895 save percentage in 12 games. Despite the hot start for the Caps, they rank in the bottom half of the league with 3.12 goals against per game. If there aren’t improvements for Holtby before Christmas, don’t be surprised to see Ilya Samsonov between the pipes a lot more.
The OVER in Capitals’ games has been the best trend to ride in the early phase of the 2019-20 season. It’s gone 10-1 in their previous eleven games, and I’ve been able to get a piece of the trend thankfully. The Capitals’ offence will eventually have a cooling off period, but it’s likely not going to start tonight. Expect another high-scoring game at Capital One Arena on Saturday night between the Golden Knights and Capitals.