Capitals to Solidify Metro Lead with Victory vs. Shaky Flyers

Dana Lane

Sunday, March 18, 2018 2:51 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 18, 2018 2:51 PM UTC

Philadelphia has dropped seven of their past nine games overall and six of their last seven against Eastern Conference opponents. One of the East's best is today's opponent. 

Sunday NHL: Capitals vs. FlyersFree NHL Pick: Capitals -104Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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The Washington Capitals (41-23-7, 89 points, +14 goal differential) lead Pittsburgh by two points for Metropolitan Division supremacy as they travel to Philadelphia (36-25-11, 83, even) to take on the third-place Flyers, who are desperately trying to hold off hard-charging Columbus. Puck drops at 5 p.m. ET and can be seen on NHL Network.

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Riding a four-game winning streak, the #Caps head north to Philadelphia to finish off their season's series with the Flyers on Sunday afternoon.#CapsFlyers Game Preview, presented by @mysuperfd:

— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 18, 2018

The Flyers opened as small -112 favorites on the NHL odds board but were quickly bet down to as low as even money in some spots while holding steady in others. I think the majority of the money will be in on the Capitals, so you want to get your bet in as soon as possible. You can still get the Caps laying just a small amount of juice, but that’s not going to last.

The total opened at 5.5, -115 (over). However, with a large amount of "under" money flowing in, the consensus number is around -105 each way, but some plus-money opportunities are starting to pop up (BetOnline +104, under).

These teams met at the end of January, with the Capitals winning 5-3 at home. Chandler Stephenson scored two goals for Washington, and Lars Eller and John Carlson each had two assists. The Flyers had just seven shots in the third period.

Philipp Grubauer (11-8-3, .925, 2.26) is expected to be in goal for the Capitals tonight. Petr Mrazek (12-12-4, .903, 2.98) is the Flyers' probable starter.

The Capitals have been trying for years to find the formula that will allow them to get through Pittsburgh in the postseason. We know that winning the Presidents' Trophy is the kiss of death in most years, so maybe with Barry Trotz’s team not in the running for the best overall record they can sneak up on the playoffs as unassuming as a first-place team can.

The fact is, there isn’t a formula but there is depth, and the Capitals are finally getting consistent contributions from guys not in jersey No. 8.

In their two-game sweep of the New York Islanders, nine players combined for 13 goals. Alexander Ovechkin did not contribute once, which is great news for Capitals fans. Washington has three lines that can hurt you offensively starting with Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson and Ovechkin, who have combined for 13 points in their past 15 combined games. The second line has matched those numbers, while the third line of Eller, Jakub Vrana, and Alex Chiasson has contributed 10 points in their last 15 combined.

The Capitals have too much depth right now. For your NHL picks, expect them to overwhelm the Flyers, who are falling fast in the standings.

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