#Betting101: Goalie Change Makes Caps Viable Again

Jason Lake

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:52 AM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018 11:52 AM UTC

The Washington Capitals were getting nowhere fast with Braden Holtby in net. Now that Philipp Grubauer has taken over, Washington is beating the NHL odds again.

Something very interesting is happening with the Washington Capitals. They’ve managed to stay on top of the Metropolitan Division for the most part, despite a plus-11 goal differential that would rank sixth in the Central Division and fourth in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. This just isn’t the same team that crushed the NHL last year – during the regular season, at least.

So they’re doing something about it. Washington has gotten surprisingly poor results from starting goaltender Braden Holtby (.906 save percentage) this year, and it looks like they’re done waiting for Holtby to regain his All-Star and Vezina form. No. 2 netminder Phillip Grubauer (.922 SV%) has started seven of the last 11 games for the Capitals, with a personal record of 5-2. Is it finally safe to put the Capitals in our NHL picks?

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3.20 vs. Dallas | https://t.co/wKoq2dMQZW#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/rECHkhsvTH

— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 15, 2018

Hook, Line and Sinker

The goalie switch is definitely encouraging. As we mentioned last week, quality backup goalies give us a chance to make piles of money when they replace underperforming big-game starters. Washington resembles that remark. Holtby won the Vezina Trophy two years ago, and the Jennings Trophy last year. He’s a two-time All-Star. Grubauer has been playing second fiddle to Holtby for six years now – when he’s not busy trying to avenge the death of his brothers at the hands of John McClane.

What’s that? I’m being told it was the Gruber Brothers, not Grubauer. And the Die Hard series is not, in fact, a documentary series. Good, that will keep Grubauer focussed on hockey. He’ll need to be resilient after losing 6-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Let’s hope that final score doesn’t cause head coach Barry Trotz to lose faith; Grubauer is at plus-7.49 Goals Saved Above Average this year, miles ahead of Holtby at minus-9.82 GSAA. Alas, Grubauer is just 11-9-3 despite his recent hot streak, while Holtby is 30-15-4.

Alas for Grubauer, that is. As bettors, we want to see these unfair disparities in the results, so we can take advantage of the NHL odds when the regression monsters arrive. They’re here to help the Capitals – will the Capitals help us by starting Grubauer on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) against the Detroit Red Wins, and/or Saturday (7:00 p.m. ET) against the Montreal Canadiens? Stay tuned, and may the cylinder be with you.

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