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Canucks vs. Capitals NHL Picks: Which Team Gets Back On Track?

Canucks vs. Capitals NHL Picks: Which Team Gets Back On Track?
Washington Capitals stars Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin look to take center stage Sunday against Vancouver Canucks. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images via AFP.

A pair of suddenly struggling teams are set to square off in the NHL’s lone game on Sunday when the Washington Capitals host the Vancouver Canucks. We break down that matchup with our top Canucks-Capitals NHL picks.

Neither the Capitals nor Canucks are setting the world on fire right now. Washington snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders, and it’s posted a disappointing 3-2-2 record since returning from the holiday/COVID-19 break.

Though the Canucks experienced a ridiculous hot streak after Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench, they’re starting to come back to earth. Vancouver dropped a 4-1 game to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday for its third straight loss. The Canucks are 2-3-1 since the break.

Here are my Canucks-Capitals picks and predictions for their NHL matchup on Sunday (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

Canucks vs. Capitals Game Info

Date/Time: Sunday, Jan. 16, 2 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet, TVAS, NBCS-DC
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

Canucks vs. Capitals Odds Analysis

The Capitals are the clear favorites at both DraftKings (-175) and FanDuel (-200), and if you're expecting them to run over over the Canucks, you can get them at a -1.5 spread at +136 on FanDuel.

Those looking to back the underdogs can snatch up the Canucks at +164 with FanDuel or +150 on DraftKings. The goal total is set at six, with the Over paying out at -105, while the Under will net you -115.

Canucks vs. Capitals Picks

Capitals (-175) ★★★
Over 6 goals (-105) ★★★

SEE ALSO: Ducks Feeling Heat in Pacific Playoff Race

Canucks v.s Capitals Predictions

Capitals (-175)

They may not be playing their best hockey of late, but the Capitals still own excellent underlying numbers and are a quality team. Washington ranks in the top 10 in Corsi For percentage (ninth), expected goals for (10th), and expected goals for percentage (10th). Those numbers have led to real results on the ice, too, as the Capitals are the ninth-highest-scoring team in the league with 3.29 goals per game, while they surrender just 2.68 goals per contest, good for eighth.

Washington also has a not-so-secret weapon in Alex Ovechkin. The Russian goal-scoring machine bathed in the fountain of youth in the offseason, as he has 25 goals and 53 points in 38 games. He's on pace for 114 points, which would be the most in any season of his illustrious career.

One of the hottest teams for nearly a month, Vancouver rode goaltender Thatcher Demko to an 8-1-1 record in December. Unfortunately, for the Canucks, the situation in net could get a bit tricky on Sunday. With backup Jaroslav Halak in the NHL's COVID-19 protocols, the Canucks will look to Demko to start in back-to-back games or turn to taxi squad netminder Spencer Martin. This uncertainty between the pipes has me leaning toward the Capitals, as well as my next pick.

Over 6 goals (-105)

Demko has given up 13 goals in his last three starts. If they choose Martin to patrol the crease, they'll be relying on a netminder who hasn't seen NHL action since the 2016-17 season, when he posted a .865 save percentage and 4.35 goals-against average in three games with the Colorado Avalanche.

Meanwhile, The Capitals are expected to start Ilya Samsonov. He has a solid 2.76 GAA and .903 save percentage in 20 games this season but is the weaker of two options between the pipes.

The Capitals are a top-10 scoring team in the league and have combined with their opponents to score six-plus goals six times in their last 10 games. The Canucks aren't on that level offensively, but they've also combined with their opponents to score six-plus goals six times over that same stretch.

SEE ALSO: All picks and odds. Be sure to check out SportsbookReview.com's community forums and betting tools.

Canucks-Capitals picks made 1/16/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET.