Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins Free NHL Picks, Odds and Predictions
by George Monroy - 2/28/2014
Washington Capitals (28-23-9, 65 points) at Boston Bruins (37-16-5, 79 points) NHL Hockey: Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 1 p.m. EST (TD Garden)
The Boston Bruins were welcomed back to the season with a shocking upset at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. Boston gave up five goals in the matchup and may still have been a bit rusty from such a long break away from the ice for the Olympics. The Bruins are sitting on 79 points in the playoff standings and trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by five points for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Washington Capitals will face both Boston and the Philadelphia Flyers twice over the next four games, with two consecutive road games against the Bruins during that span. Washington is one point out from the final playoff spot in the East and will probably be stuck in a tight postseason race for the rest of the season. A road win against a quality team like Boston would go along way in helping the Capitals secure a playoff spot. Let’s take a closer look at Saturday’s matchup with picks, predictions and analysis.
Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins Betting Story Lines
Boston is coming off a surprising loss to the Sabres where the team was sluggish on defense, and backup goaltender Chad Johnson was unable to stay productive in front of the net. The Bruins outshot Buffalo 33-26 but never managed build a lead over their energetic opponent. The defending Eastern Conference champions are still on the short list of contenders to win this year’s Stanly Cup title and are receiving +800 odds from Sportsbook.ag
Overall, Boston is one of the top defensive squads in the NHL and is second in goals scored with an average of 2.2. Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask continues to be the anchor on defense and is one of the best goalies in the league. Rask averages a .928 save percentage and only gives up 2.11 goals per game. Boston’s title hopes may rest on Rask throughout the postseason, which is why the team had him sit out during its last matchup against the Sabres.
Washington is on a mini hot streak, winning three-games in a row and four of its last five. The team has received excellent production from its starting goaltender, Braden Holtby, who has allowed only six goals in his last three matchups. Overall, Washington is allowing 2.9 goals per game, which is ranked 22nd in the NHL. The team, however, is ranked second in power-play percentage and 10th in goals scored with 2.8 per game.
Alexander Ovechkin returned to the lineup on Thursday with a solid performance to help rebound from his disappointing Olympics. Ovechkin scored his 41st goal of the year and made the game-winning goal during the team’s win over Florida. Washington was leading 4-2 midway through the third period but let the Panthers come back to tie the matchup before Ovechkin’s game-saving shot.
Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins NHL Odds and Key Trends
Boston opened as a -185 favorite over the +166 underdog Capitals at BetOnline. The total was set at 5.5 goals, with the “under” being favored at -121. Boston is 10-1 in its last 11 versus the Metropolitan Division and 16-5 in its last 21 Saturday games. The squad is also 7-3 in its last 10 overall games but only 1-4 during its last five games played on two days of rest. Boston has gone “over” in three of its last four matchups against division opponents.
Washington is 4-1 in its last five games against the Atlantic Division and in its last five overall games. The team, however, is only 4-9 in its last 13 road games and 3-11 in its last 14 games played on one day of rest. Washington has gone over in each of its last four road games. Head-to-head, Washington is 5-2 during the last seven games played in Boston.
Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins Free NHL Picks and Betting Predictions
Boston is a huge favorite in this matchup, and the price is probably too expense to wager on—especially for a team that might still be sluggish from the long break. Boston’s star goaltender Rask will return to action during Saturday’s matchup, and his presence alone should help increase the team’s defensive efficiency. Take the under on the matchup as the Bruins will be ready to make up for a poor defensive performance in their last game.
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