NHL Pick: Capitals To Win Presidents' Trophy By Beating The Blues

Dana Lane

Saturday, March 26, 2016 5:39 PM GMT

The NHL Odds foreshadow Capitals wraping up the Presidents Trophy with a victory over the Blues tonight.

The Washington Capitals (53-15-5 111 pts) can finish off their quest for the Presidents Trophy with a victory tonight against the St. Louis Blues (44-22-9 97 pts), and are currently being offered at around -140 on the NHL odds board. The Capitals have been the top ranked team in my power ratings virtually all season while I currently have the Blues ranked 13th.  I'm always asked why I don't believe in St. Louis more considering they still have a shot to win the Central Division.  The reason is simple, only four other teams have more shootout wins than the Blues and it seems that no one plays more close games than the St. Louis.  Their ability to win most of those have given them a tremendous boost but I contend that when they hit the playoffs it will be difficult for them to find that magic, every night, against quality teams. 

Jake Allen (24-14-3) will get the start for the Blues in net. This could be Allen's last opportunity to be the starting goaltender in the playoffs because his numbers of late have been less than impressive going 0-1 with a 6.00 GAA and a .791 save percentage. In fact, in his last three starts Allen hasn't given up less than four goals with two of those games coming against Calgary and Edmonton. 

The Capitals haven't named their goaltender and you won't find out who it is through the morning skate as today's skate is optional. The line is low in case Philipp Grubauer gets the start who is 8-6-1 on the season with a 2.19 GA in 19 games.  Against the Blues Grubauer has stopped 74 of 76 shots in winning two match-ups in both career starts. 

The Washington Capitals have earned a point in over 76% of their games this season which is why they are the clear number one team.  To give this contrast the number two team is the Dallas Stars and St.Louis Blues at 65%.  

Both teams are coming off of shutout wins last night.  The Blues blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 while the Capitals needed overtime to beat the Devils 1-0.  Noteworthy is the return of John Carlson who netted the game winner. Carlson's presence now gives the Capitals three healthy defensive pairings.  At 6-2, 212 he gives them another big body and weapon in front of Holtby or Grubauer. He's the first Capitals defensemen to score the game winning goal, in overtime, in a 1-0 game.  

As far as trends are concerned we've said it all year, don't get too cute trying to find an inside angle.  The only trend you need to be concerned about is that the Capitals are 41-14 in their last 55 games and 38-14 in their last 42 home games. They are also an outstanding bounce back team after a poor offensive showing. Washington has won 38 of their last 56 games after scoring two goals or less in their previous game. 

I expect Grubauer to make the start tonight which should keep the line down a bit but there is nothing that tells me to go against the Capitals who have been so profitable NHL betting picks.

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Free NHL Pick: Capitals -139
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

@DanaLaneSports