The Washington Capitals were looking rather lethargic for a long while, but the Capitals came out of their coma and exploded against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon. They were in danger of going on a five-game losing streak, along with losses in seven of games. However, the Capitals snapped out of it and woke up to play their rivals.
The Capitals were the better team in that contest, as they dispatched the Penguins, 5-3. Carl Hagelin was the big winner of the night with 2 goals to pace the Capitals to the win. The victory gave the Capitals sole possession of the Metropolitan Division, as they head into Tuesday with 82 points as opposed to 80 points for the Penguins.
Washington had complete control of the Metropolitan and were comfortably atop the division before their cold run. It also helps that the Penguins have played pretty well in the second-half and have the services of Sidney Crosby back. The Penguins have looked like the better team over the course of the last two month, and they made a move by acquiring Jason Zucker from the Wild. He’s a Jake Guentzel replacement, though the Penguins are hoping that he can return at some point in the playoffs.
If they can get Guentzel back, the Penguins are a really dangerous team when they’re a healthy group. Alex Ovechkin won that round on Sunday against Crosby, though. The Jets are in the midst of a tight playoff race. They won’t be concerning themselves with winning their division down the stretch, but surviving and just getting into the playoffs is the goal. The Jets head into Washington with a record of 32-27-5, which has been a rather pedestrian year in Winnipeg.
The talent is there for the Jets. They can’t ask for more with Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, and Mark Schiefele, but there’s just felt like something has been amiss for the team this season. The Jets have been good enough to compete, though not enough to get over the hump and beat the big dogs. They have a chance to do that in Washington at the Capital One Arena tonight. Head below for our free Jets vs. Capitals pick.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Washington Capitals Betting Odds:
Jets vs. Capitals Prediction:
The Jets have to hope that the win Washington had against the Penguins isn’t the start of a hot run. It’s within reason that the Capitals are going to find some momentum from that game. Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to suit up after the Canadiens traded him to the Capitals. This is his third team in 2019-20. He started the year with the Kings, was waived and signed in early January by the Canadiens. The Canadiens then flipped him to the Capitals recently. He will have a chance to play for a Stanley Cup and add some benefit as a role player on the Capitals.
While the Capitals haven’t played their best hockey over the last couple of months or so, we do know that they’re still a dangerous team. Despite trading wins and losses, they are still in the lead with a record of 38-18-6 in the Metropolitan. All that matters is they get hot at the right moment, and they are capable of doing that. The Capitals are still 3rd in the league with 3.47 goals per game. For everything that hasn’t gone well for them of late, they still have a top-3 offence. When they are playing to their full potential, the Capitals could be the best offence in the NHL. And while Kovalchuk’s best years are done with, he should be able to help a team already has a strong core in place.
The Jets are coming off a 4-2 loss against the Flyers and 2-1 against the Sabres. The offence suddenly had a power outage after playing pretty well. They can’t afford to get stuck in a rut now, as the Jets are a point out for the final wildcard in the Western Conference. Winnipeg has statistically been an average team this season, with 2.97 goals scored per game and 2.97 goals allowed. They have also struggled against the Capitals in recent memory, having gone 4-12 in their last 16 games against them. I’m expecting that the Capitals use the confidence they got from beating the Penguins, and carry it over to Tuesday night against the Jets. Look for the Caps to build up a bit of a run.