The Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals meet at Capital One Arena for a Wednesday night showdown. Alexander Ovechkin will be active in this game after having to sit out against the Canadiens on Monday. Ovechkin was fine, but he was benched by the NHL because he voluntarily removed himself from the All-Star Game.
Despite getting a one-game suspension, Ovechkin felt that avoiding an injury and getting a chance to recharge his batteries was more important. His absence didn’t matter against the Canadiens, as the Capitals cruised to a 4-2 win thanks to a 2-0 second period. So, Ovechkin got to get a full week off and the Capitals didn’t pay for losing him, it ended up being a win-win for the Capitals.
The Capitals head into Wednesday with a record of 34-11-5. They hold a 6-point advantage on the Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. With Sidney Crosby back in the lineup for the Penguins, the Capitals can’t sleep on their rivals now. It would have been nice for the Penguins if they had Jake Guentzel in the lineup as well, but it appears that the Penguins are going to buy at the trade deadline and look for help.
Having said that, Guentzel isn’t going to be easily replaced. His production is not going to be swapped with somebody else available in the market. Guentzel is one of the more underrated players in the league, and I don’t think the Penguins are willing to unload their prospects for his replacement for a few months. There is a chance that Guentzel could make a return at some point during the playoffs. With a 4-6 month timeline on his injury, that’s going to be a dicey proposition, though.
This is of course is important to the Capitals, as the Penguins and Capitals have done some epic battles in the playoffs. Their odds to win the Metropolitan and Eastern Conference see an uptick without a healthy Guentzel. As far as the Predators are concerned, they need to get their stuff together down the stretch.
They head into Washington with a record of 22-19-7 and 51 points, which is good for dead last in the Central Division. Despite the dreary outlook, the Predators are still alive in the wildcard race. It’s about time they get going, though. Losing to the Maple Leafs by a score of 5-2 on Monday isn’t getting it going. Another quality opponent is on deck tonight at Capital One Arena. Head below for our free Predators vs. Capitals pick.
Nashville Predators vs. Washington Capitals Betting Odds:
Predators vs. Capitals Prediction:
The Capitals are an opponent that the Predators have not been intimidated by. They’ve been on a torrid pace against the Capital, having won seven straight games, including a win in October of this season, 6-5. In their final meeting of last season, the Predators buried the Capitals by a score of 7-2.
During their seven-game winning streak, Nashville outscored Washington by a wide margin of 36 goals to 19. While the Predators have been a good team over the past several years, it’s surprising to say that they’ve dominated the Capitals so easily. The Capitals are a team who’ve been even better than the Predators during that span, including a Stanley Cup, so this is just one team that has had their number.
However, keep in mind that we haven’t seen the Predators playing at the very back of the Metropolitan in a long time. Their seven-game winning streak dates back to 2017, a year where the Predators were playing a lot better hockey. Part of the problem for the Predators has been the play of Pekka Rinne between the pipes.
The former Vezina winner has fallen off in 2019-20, as he’s gone from a 2.31 GAA to a 2.42 GAA and now he enters on Wednesday with a 2.98 GAA thi season. That also includes a poor 0.897 save percentage. It’s not all his fault, but Rinne could certainly play better. The Preds are 23rd in the NHL with 3.25 goals against per game. Nashville was a team that used to pride itself on its physical defensive play. However, that hasn’t been the case in 2019-20.
Adding Matt Duchene to the offence has helped in the goal scoring department, though. They’ve been converting at a pretty effective clip, with an average of 3.27 goals scored per game for 9th in the NHL. That has increased on the road, where they’ve netted 3.52 goals per game. They will be tasked with slowing down a Capitals offence who has been on fire with 3.8 goals per game in their previous ten outings. I don’t know if they have what it takes defensively to hold Ovechkin and company down. Whoever wins is irrelevant to me, though, because the OVER looks like the best play at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night.