Predators vs. Capitals NHL Pick – December 31st

A streak is going to come to an end or continue in Washington this afternoon. The Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals meet in what was the projected Stanley Cup Final for many people a season ago before the playoffs started. That prediction didn’t look so hot after the Capitals lost their first two games to the Blue Jackets in the first-round.

Yeah, about that. The Capitals went to the Stanley Cup Final, but the Predators were nowhere to be found. The Predators weren’t around in the Western Conference Final, either. That was the Jets and Golden Knights. So, needless to say, it was a disappointing year for the defending President’s Trophy champions. Ask the Caps, that’s a hollow trophy to celebrate.

The Caps didn’t have the best record in the NHL last season and they won the Stanley Cup. They were becoming infamous with playing their best hockey in the regular season and then getting tripped up in the playoffs, usually by the Penguins. With the Preds playing sloppy hockey recently and it appearing like the best record is going to be difficult to achieve again, they can look at the Caps that it doesn’t equate to winning it all.

Washington is hoping to win their fifth game in a row, while the Preds are trying to snap a lengthy six-game losing streak. The offence has been invisible for Nashville recently, as they’ve slipped to 22-15-1 on the season. P.K. Subban and Viktor Arvidsson were recently activated off the IR, but the result was the same against the Stars and Rangers for the Preds. They lost to Dallas 2-0 and then followed it up with a bad 4-3 loss to the Rangers. With a couple of games to shake off the rust, excuses are going to be wearing then soon in Nashville. Head below for our free Predators vs. Capitals pick.

Nashville Predators vs. Washington Capitals Pick

Along with the four-game winning streak that the Capitals are on, they’ve been on fire since mid-November. The Capitals have lost just three games since November 16th. Those losses came against the Ducks, Golden Knights, and Penguins. The loss to the Ducks at home was probably the most perplexing, but it seems to be just a small bump in the road for Washington.

There were some teams who came really close to knocking them off, though. Four games went to extra time, and the Senators came close in a 3-2 game to putting an end to their streak. Pheonix Copley looked good and has shown that he can be a reliable backup to Holtby. The loss of Philipp Grubauer stung a bit, but Copley has been coming into his own.

Ovechkin has been on a tear with 29 goals this season and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down at 33 years old. He hasn’t scored in five games, though, which is crazy to think after he recorded back-to-back hat tricks. Defensively the team has been looking much better after an early sputter to the season. In their last ten games, they’ve allowed 1.8 goals per game while averaging 3.5 goals.

Conversely, the Predators have been lifeless with only 2 goals scored per game. I will say, though, this isn’t a team that the Capitals have had a successful history against. The Preds have gone 4-0 in their last four meetings and are 7-3 in their previous ten meetings. Nashville won their last four clashes by an average of 2 goals.

Also, the Preds are 3-1 in Washington their last four trips here. With Subban and Arvidsson hopefully have shaken the rust off by now in their third game back, the Predators are better than they’ve shown recently. Motivation to play on New Year’s Eve has to be in the Predators’ corner. They have played as badly as we’ve seen from them in a long time and are likely excited to end this drought against a hot team like the Capitals. Their backs are against the wall, but the play is on the plus money and the Predators this afternoon.

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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.