The Washington Capitals are demolishing teams and taking names. There is no other team in the NHL who have been on the type of roll the Capitals have been on. We’ve seen this act before though, so you have to hold your breath with this team. They’ll run into some adversity in the playoffs, which is where they’ve had all of their problems. If only the Stanley Cup was awarded to the team with the best regular season. The Capitals would be set then, but it doesn’t work that way and they still have to get through some teams that have shown they can play when it really matters in the postseason.
Pittsburgh Penguins, I’m talking about you. The Caps still need to reach the Stanley Cup Finals and win for them to get any respect. This team could match the winning streak that the Blue Jackets had, and the attitude with people would be like, yeah yeah we’ve seen this before with you guys. There’s a way to go until the playoffs, so we’re going to have to settle for what we see on the ice now.
What we’re seeing from the Caps has been quite impressive. They are winners in 11 of their last 12 games, including a nine-game streak of wins. It wasn’t as long as the Blue Jackets’ magnificent stroke of success, but the message is heard loud and clear around the rest of the NHL. The Capitals have hit their stride and are playing like the best team in the league. I think the Jackets peaking as early as they did was kind of dangerous in a way. They won’t be able to come close to replicating that when the time comes for crunch time. It’s all about peaking at the right time, and I’m afraid the Blue Jackets already blew their load. The Capitals, though, could easily stay hot all the way up to April. Carolina are entering a firehouse in Washington, we’ll see if they can put it out and pull off a sizable upset over the Capitals.
The Hurricanes will have to slow down a potent offence, and a defence that doesn’t give up much room. Holtby got his bad start out of the way, a real bad start against the Penguins. He allowed 5 goals in a 8-7 overtime loss. It was the only hiccup that the Capitals have had in their last twelve games. While the defence was in for a long night, their offence still did their part against the Penguins. Barry Trotz was known for defence in Nashville, but he’s been getting the best of both worlds in Washington. He is getting the most out of the offence and defence, taking the league by storm with Holtby and Alexander Ovechkin. With the Penguins suffering a down season defensively, this is the best chance that they have to beat them in the playoffs, in my opinion.
The Capitals are averaging a staggering 5 goals per game in their last ten games, including 2.20 goals allowed. Overall, the Caps are 5th in the NHL with 3.22 goals per game. On defence, they’ve punched in for a 1st place ranking, despite allowing 8 goals to the Pens. Holtby has posted a 1.99 GAA and 0.929% save percentage. Additionally, he has been stellar against the Hurricanes throughout his career. Holtby owns a 1.90 GAA and 0.943% save percentage against the Canes in thirteen games. The Capitals should be able to make this game look easy against a Hurricane team who are 6-13-3 on the road this season.
PICK: CAPITALS -1.5 (+115)