Alexander Ovechkin has to be feeling pretty good about the way things are going. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are wondering what is going on in Pittsburgh, while the Capitals are sitting atop the league. To me it doesn’t impress me much. It will be a while before the Capitals will have the chance to impress me because it is going to take a deep playoff run to the Stanley Cup for them to do that. You want to impress me Capitals? Go and win a Stanley Cup. 20-6-2 is nice and all but you can’t tell me anyone will think favorably on the Capitals if they lose again before reaching the finals. Such a solid regular season would probably actually add to the frustration. They have been frustrated before, which has become all too familiar to Ovechkin. Not only has Ovechkin had to swallow hard pills in the NHL, but at the international level he’s had to hang his head way too many times as well.
Could this be the year that the Capitals get over the hump and make it to the finals? They don’t evoke much confidence in me. This is the best start to a regular season they have ever had in the Ovechkin era, but still, the Ducks have had multiple regular seasons that have looked the same way and the end result in the playoffs didn’t add up. The Caps face a team tonight who was just in the finals only to lose. However, by the looks of the season thus far, the Capitals look like the team that were in the Stanley Cup Finals and not the Lightning. Like the Penguins, the Lightning are going through their own feeling out process of their own. I’m not going to jump to conclusions, the Lightning may end up making it further than the Capitals. But let’s look at the short term tonight and who will come out on top on Thursday.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals NHL Pick
The Lightning have grabbed two straight wins on their road trip, with the Capitals next up on the schedule. Behind them are the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sort of a big increase in talent playing the Capitals this evening. The Capitals have done pretty much everything right this season. While the Lightning have won two straight, the Capitals have nabbed three in a row. In their last ten games they have won eight of their last ten. The Lightning have showed signs of picking it up, though. 16-13-1 on the season, the Lightning have gone 5-2 in their last seven matchups.
The Lightning have relied on their defense, allowing 2.22 goals per game in 2015. That number makes them the 3rd best team in the NHL. Ahead of them is the Capitals who are 2nd in the league. However, there has been only one team here that has had the offense. The Capitals are 5th in the NHL in goals while the Lightning are all the way back in 24th. Although, I do believe that the Lightning will improve as the season goes on. I see them moving up. And if the defense stays together, then there you go, the Lightning are back as being threats. I think the Lightning are being afforded a pretty nice price in this game. I don’t see them as this big of underdogs in this game. The Capitals have been good, but they shouldn’t be this big of favorites over a team who I think are going to find their way again soon. Sign me up for the Lightning.
PICK: LIGHTNING TO WIN +140