The Washington Capitals tour of destruction in the NHL moves on tonight at home against the Buffalo Sabres. This is a home-and-home, something I have seen more often than in years past in the NHL. Thanks to the 2-0 win over the Sabres in Buffalo, the Capitals now have won eight straight games. Their only loss coming against the Florida Panthers. Good on you Panthers for beating this tem, because not many have been able to say they did. The Caps are 14-2 in their last sixteen games. An impressive feat for Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals. In total, the Capitals are 27-6-2 this season. I can say they are hot right now, but they’ve been hot throughout the entire year. Teams go through stretches, but this stretch for the Capitals has lasted from the first drop of the puck in 2015. The Caps are a very good team. Teams don’t go 27-6-2 without them being very good. Maybe over the first few weeks of the season one could say it was just a fluke. But this is no fluke, the Capitals look like they are unstoppable.
Here in lies the problem with the Caps, though. This is the regular season, the last time I checked. I don’t need to remind Ovechkin this or anyone else on Washington, but their history of choking in the playoffs is well documented. The Capitals have had good regular seasons before and didn’t end up performing when it mattered most.
Last season is a prime example of that. I should note, though, the Caps haven’t had a season quite as good as this. They are on another level in this instance. I really can’t say if it’s going to translate to success in the playoffs, but what a disappointment it will be if it does in fact happen. They get another opportunity at the Sabres tonight, a team they just beat handily by a couple of goals. But with that said, the Sabres have been much improved. They are trending up for the future and they look like a team worthy of being on the ice with other NHL clubs. Last year, they had their moments where it looked like they would struggle at the AHL level. But that was part of the deal, the Sabres are a young team that needs to be given time to grow. The Capitals have grown, we can say that much. Let’s see what happens tonight in the nation’s capital.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Washington Capitals NHL Pick
There isn’t one specific thing the Capitals do particularly well. That is a huge compliment, because they do everything well. Often times teams will have a strong suit, but another area will drag them down substantially. Not the Capitals, they do everything really well from the defense to the offense. They can be frustrating to play, in the sense that you think you have them and then bam you’re down by 2 goals.
The Capitals are averaging 3.09 goals per game, 2nd in the NHL, trailing only the Dallas Stars. Likewise, the defense has been on point, allowing only 2.06 goals per game, 1st in the NHL. The Capitals are getting really close to that mark of under 2 goals allowed. Braden Holtby can tell you all about that. The Washington goaltender has a ridiculous GAA of just 1.85 with a .935 save percentage. The impressive record of 23-4 goes along with that as well. The Capitals should get to the Sabres again tonight. I see something similar happening, with this one ending in something along with the lines of a 4-1 final in favor of the Capitals.
PICK: CAPITALS -1.5 (+115)