Bruins at Capitals Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/5/2013
Last spring these two teams played one of the great playoff series in recent memory. Washington won in seven games, and for the first time in league history all seven games were decided by just one goal. It was an epic battle. Sadly, though, not much the Capitals have done since have been remotely epic, and that dims expectations for this one.
Washington is tied for last in the Eastern Conference with 17 points and is just one point ahead of the Blue Jackets for the cellar of the entire league. No team with Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of this talent should be as low as fourth, never mind 14th. Needless to say, they are in the midst of the most disappointing season of any team in the league.
Boston, on the other hand, has picked up where they left off last year despite the upset loss. They have the second-best record in the East right now behind only Montreal, and they have three games in hand on the Habs, so they are in the driver’s seat at this point.
Bruins at Capitals Betting storylines
The Bruins are going to be very comfortable playing on the road in this one. Only the unbeaten Blackhawks have a better win percentage on the road than the Bruins and their 8-1-1 mark. That’s actually better than their 6-2-1 mark at home — one of only a handful of teams to excel on the road like that. They have won their last four road games, but they have hardly had to beat up on strong squads during that streak — the wins have come against the Islanders, Panthers, Lightning and Jets.
While the Capitals have been largely disappointing this year, they are playing much better recently — they are 6-3 in their last nine and 3-1 at home in that time. A big part of the reason for that has been the improved play of goaltender Braden Holtby. The 23 year old was lousy early in the year, but he has allowed just five goals in his last four games — and four of them came in a loss at Philadelphia. That means he has two shutouts in his last three games — including a stellar 35-save performance at Winnipeg last time out. He’s wildly confident right now, and that is a big asset for the Capitals.
Offensively for the Capitals, Alexander Ovechkin has been a massive disappointment. He’s one of the top offensive talents in the league, yet he sits just 29th in the league in goals scored and has played with a pouting lack of intensity for much of the year. Picking up the pieces for the team recently, though, has been the ageless Mike Ribeiro. He has points in 10 of his last 12 games and has 16 points over that stretch. When he is on, his team is tough to beat lately, so the ability of the Bruins to contain him will be a large consideration here. His strong play recently and the defensive success of the team are both signs that coach Adam Oates is making headway implementing his new system. He looked to make significant changes to the team, and with no previous head coaching experience and no real preseason or offseason to work with, he was in an almost impossible spot. The Capitals are in a very tough position because of their very slow start, but their second half should be better than their first half has been. The question, then, is whether the turnaround is advanced enough right now to beat one of the elite teams in the conference.
Bruins at Capitals NHL Odds and Betting Trends
5Dimes has the Bruins favored at -145 on the road, with the Capitals at +135. The total is at the typical 5.5.
The road team is 5-1 in their last six meetings. Of the last 34 meetings between the teams, 24 have gone “under” the total. The Capitals have gone under in their last six against Northeast Division teams.
Bruins at Capitals Picks and Betting Predictions
The right play here is the under. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask has a tiny 1.97 GAA, and a .928 save percentage. He allowed four goals on Sunday but had allowed two or fewer goals in seven of his previous eight and just three goals in the eighth game. Holtby is dialed in as well as we discussed. Neither of these teams is among the goal scoring elite this year, so there is a solid chance that the goalies can stay hot and the total can stay low.
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