The Dallas Stars must mount a comeback in the Western Conference if they want to be playing in the postseason this season. A year removed as divisional championships, has now resulted in a situation where the best-case scenario will be a last minute come from behind playoff clinch.
The odds aren’t in their favour, as they are currently 7 points back of the playoffs. Without much time left in the regular season, there isn’t any room for error. Nothing is going to get easier for them tonight, with a stop in Washington on Monday night.
The Capitals are playoff bound. They were playoff bound before the season even started, you could say. That’s great and all, but without positive results in the playoffs, the regular season doesn’t mean anything. The Caps can add as many President Trophy’s to their trophy case as they want, but it’ll mean absolutely nothing with no Stanley Cup.
A Stanley Cup is what they are seeking, hopefully cashing in when Alexander Ovechkin is still here, playing at a superior level. I’d be surprised if Ovechkin doesn’t retire a Capital, but Washington aren’t going to have this kind of talented team forever.
Dallas, unlike Washington, have been unable to pick up where they left off from last season. The Stars played the part in the regular season, looking like a Stanley Cup contender, but just like the Capitals it was all for not. However, the Capitals are back plowing through the opposition, while the Stars are sputtering along and in danger of missing out on the playoffs completely.
Note that the Stars hold a surprising record of 26-29-9. They haven’t gotten the type of production they’ve gotten from their marquee players, like Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza as they have in the pat. You cannot pinpoint their problems on a player or two, but the core hasn’t been playing up to expectations this year. Let’s get right to our Stars vs. Capitals pick below.
Dallas Stars vs. Washington Capitals Pick
Effort has been a problem on defence with the Stars. They are right back to playing like the same team we saw a couple years ago, with a dip in offensive production to boot. Last season saw a jump on defence, but it’s quickly become a mess in that regard in 2016-17.
The Stars are allowing 3.20 goals per game, which puts them at 28th in the NHL. Right back to the bottom where they were two years ago. They had a top-flight offence then though, here in 2016-17 they are scoring 2.80 goals a game for 12th in the NHL. Although their defence was getting ripped a couple of years ago, the offence was a top-5 unit.
The Stars are particularly porous on the road, posting an abysmal record of 8-18-4. Nothing that is going to help them reach the playoffs. The Stars and Capitals have played twice this season, as they’ve split both of their meetings in Dallas. It’s on the road this go-around for the Stars, who face a Caps team who are 27-5-0 at home. The last home loss for the Capitals came all the way back on December 29th.
Overall the Caps are 3rd in goals per game, and 1st in goals allowed with Braden Holtby manning the space between the pipes. We look for the Caps to make easy work of the Stars at home Monday night. Sorry, Stars, but your chances of making the playoffs aren’t going to get any easier in Washington tonight. It’s the Capitals to win by a couple or more for our NHL pick.
PICK: CAPITALS -1.5 (+120)