With the Capitals and Bruins representing two of the best teams in the East Division, the stakes couldn’t be any higher than they are for this matchup which is nestled delicately on a tight NHL betting line. Oddsmakers are cornering this game unanimously with the Capitals at home, but the Bruins, as most NHL bettors know, aren’t a side to be taken lightly. Indeed, they strike an attractive pose for the upset as the nominal underdogs.
So which way should bettors bet this game? Should they shade the hosts and fade the Bruins or vice versa for their NHL picks? Find out as we preview this game and serve up a verdict to consider.
Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals
Thursday, April 8, 2021 – 7:00 PM ET at Capital One Arena, Washington
Capitals Lead East Division, but Only Just
The Capitals are riding high in the East Division standings thanks to a 25-10-4 record and 54 points. However, they’re tied with the New York Islanders (25-10-4) in the standings after losing to the Islanders 1-0 on their last outing. If the Capitals hope to stay abreast of the divisional race – a bet currently available at +252 with BookMaker for the Washington Capitals to win the East Division – capitalizing on their home advantage over the Bruins in Thursday’s clash will be useful towards that end.
Tuesday’s battle for supremacy in the East Division against the Islanders proved to be a nail biter that could have gone either way until Brock Nelson broke the deadlock well into the third period to give the Islanders the pivotal 1-0 win. The Capitals are one of the most offensive-minded outfits in the league, ranking third overall with 3.33 goals scored per game on average. However, that lethal offense was MIA on the night, rendered scoreless through three periods.
The top line led by Alex Ovechkin (19 goals), Niklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie (24 goals combined) couldn’t find any inroads. Then again, both goalies were superb on the night and deserve all the plaudits, as does the brilliant defending from both teams that resulted in the low-scoring affair. Although Varlamov won the battle of the netminders, earning the well-deserved shutout victory over the lethal Capitals, many NHL experts are of the opinion that the showdown between this pair may well prove to be the harbinger of what’s to come from these two stalwarts in the playoffs next month.
The Capitals are 14th overall with 2.97 goals allowed per game on average. They’re eight overall on the powerplay, capitalising on 24 percent of their man-advantage opportunities. On the flipside, they’re seventh overall killing powerplays, denying 82,9 percent of opponents’ powerplays against them.
Bruins Look to Keep Momentum Going
The Bruins are coming off a tough back-to-back, home and away set with the Philadelphia Flyers. Boston lost the opening game 3-2 at home but bounced back into the win column with 4-2 win on the road. On the heels of this latest victory, Boston improves to a 20-10-6 record and 46 points and remain in fourth place.
The Bruins aren’t amongst the top five contenders to win the Stanley Cup, but their playoff prospects have been steadily improving across NHL futures markets over the course of the season. And if they clinch a playoff spot…well, anything can happen.
As it is, the Bruins are in the thick of the race for postseason positioning, a trajectory reinforced by recent form that sees the Bruins improve to a 6-2-2 mark in their last ten games. However, if there were a knockback, it’s their lack of consistent form.
Consistency is an ongoing issue with the Bruins. Even in recent weeks, it’s been a hit and miss in the betting where Boston is concerned, oscillating between a win and a loss consistently over the last eight games. For example, the Bruins lost to the Islanders 4-3, then bounced back with a 3-2 win over the Sabres, only to lose to the Devils 1-0 before bouncing back against the Devils 5-4 in the ensuing game.
In their last four games, the Bruins went 2-2 SU, splitting the series with the Penguins and Flyers in succession all the while maintaining their frustrating trend of oscillating between a win and a loss from game to game. Indeed, if that trend continues, one could argue the Bruins are slated for a loss.
Overall, the Bruins rank 17th overall in scoring with an average of 2.75 goals per game while they’re 26th overall with 2.47 goals per game conceded. These narrow margins are part of the problem, why consistency is an issue. Separately, the Bruins are ranked seventh overall in the powerplay at 24.1 percent success with the man advantage and they’re the best in the league defending against the powerplay, killing 88.7 percent of opponents’ powerplays.
NHL Predictions and Picks
Undoubtedly, both the Capitals and Bruins are playing good hockey this season, but the former is the more seasoned outfit that does just about everything that little bit better than the Bruins. Of course, that in of itself isn’t a guarantee of winning. The Capitals will have their work cut out against a hungry team that will be playing up to their lofty divisional rivals. In short, the Capitals should win, but the Bruins could win.
All told, the choice bet here is the Capitals as the small home faves for this NHL pick. They’re coming off a loss and will be eager to get back into the win column and stay ahead of the Islanders in the race to the divisional title. Moreover, if the Bruins’ trend of going from win to a loss continues, they’re due a loss.