NHL Picks: Take Best-Season-Team Capitals To Win At "The Pond"

Swinging Johnson

Monday, March 7, 2016 1:44 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 7, 2016 1:44 PM GMT

In what could be a Stanley Cup preview, the Capitals travel to meet the hottest club in the league, the Anaheim Ducks. Let's peruse the betting odds and determine our NHL picks tonight.

Washington Capitals (48-17, +22.2 units)
The NHL's best regular season team to date rebounded from a 3-2 loss at home to deliver a 2-1 overtime victory in Boston on Saturday night. Blueliner Matt Niskanen notched his second game winner in three nights as he rocketed a slap shot from the point past Boston netminder Tuukka Rask. Washington's regular starter Braden Holtby was given the night off and his backup Philipp Grubauer was stellar in his stead stopping 33 of 34 Boston shots.

The one ominous byproduct of the game is the status of Alex Ovechkin and if the league will suspend him for one or more games due to the five minute major he received for boarding Boston's Kevan Miller. The Washington's captain is leading the league in goals with 41 and his absence would be felt by an offense that is averaging 3.2 goals per game and tops in the league in that category. Ovechkin is also crucial to the Caps' second ranked power play unit that is connecting at a 23.8 percent clip.

 

Anaheim Ducks (37-27, +2.4 units)
The Ducks are officially the hottest team in the league and have been for quite some time, reeling off 11 consecutive victories. In their last outing they took on their Pacific division rivals the Los Angeles Kings which proved to be the sweetest win of all as they stole a 3-2 decision in LA and returned +115 to all those who kept the faith and included the Ducks in their NHL picks on Saturday afternoon. It was their second victory within six days over what was the top team in the division until Anaheim secured that spot with their recent surge of victories. Anaheim has gone 18-1-1 over their last 20 games and have roared back to topple the Kings from their divisional throne after trailing by 16 points on January 20th.  

Anaheim is now gunning for their fourth straight divisional title and all the pieces are coming together for the Ducks as the season enters its home stretch. The Ducks have converted on a whopping 44.2 percent of its power play opportunities during the streak and has notched at least one power-play goal in each of its last 14 victories. Anaheim is now ranked 3rd in man-advantaged opportunities, 3rd on the penalty kill and tops defensively backboned by the sterling efforts of Frederik Andsersen and John Gibson, perhaps the best goaltending tandem in the game.

 

Betting Analysis
The Caps have won their last pair of games when visiting the Ducks in Disneyland. Though the teams have yet to meet this season it was the Capitals who skated away with a 5-3 victory in their last matchup with the Ducks in Anaheim on February 15th, 2015. Washington does just about everything well and will have a well rested Braden Holtby ready to go which is why his capable backup Philipp Grubauer got the nod in the Caps win over the Bruins. It was a well crafted plan by Caps' coach Barry Trotz that will give his team the best chance to stop the white hot Ducks.

The NHL odds boards makers have yet to set a line on this one with the status of Alex Ovechkin somewhat in doubt but I am making the assumption that the Washington captain will be in uniform and ready to roll. The bottom line here is that Washington's defense and goaltending is on a par with Anaheim's but it is their explosive offense that separates them from the Californians. The Capitals rank number one in scoring while the Ducks are a surprising 21st in that category.

The Caps have demonstrated success in Anaheim recently and if there is one team that stops this Ducks' freight train rolling, it is the best team in the league thus far. In addition, once the odds are released the Caps will more than likely be in the rare position as underdog and we would then get to bet Washington at a bargain price.

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Free NHL Pick: Washington Capitals +1.5 (-240)
Best Line Offer: at 5Dimes

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