What Bettors Should Know About Lightning-Capitals, Kings-Jets
Steven Stamkos via © Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports
There are nine games on the NHL slate tonight, but two caught the eye of The Action Network’s Hockey War Room: Tampa Bay at Washington and Los Angeles at Winnipeg.
After setting the pace in the East all season, the Lightning suddenly find themselves in a scrap atop the Atlantic Division. Boston has cut Tampa’s once seemingly insurmountable lead down to just one point, and the Maple Leafs aren’t all that far off either. Their opponents tonight, the Washington Capitals, are in a battle of their own, as they look to fend off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metro.
Out West, surprise contender Winnipeg hosts the Los Angeles Kings, who continue to fight for their playoff lives.
Information is current as of Monday evening. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS — NO LINE YET
7 p.m. ET
Schedule note: Washington is on a back-to-back after playing in Buffalo on Monday afternoon. The Lightning, meanwhile, have not played since losing to New Jersey on Feb. 17. The Caps rode with backup goalie Philipp Grubauer in upstate New York, so it will be Braden Holtby against Vezina contender Andrei Vasilevskiy at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. — Michael Leboff
Under the hood: Washington leads the Metro Division, but its underlying metrics fail to impress. The Capitals rank second to last with a -23.38 expected goals (xG) differential and are 24th with a CF (Corsi For) of 47.62%.
How has Washington succeeded despite things looking bleak under the hood? The Capitals have the talent to outperform their metrics, as evidenced by their league-leading 9.55 shooting percentage when playing 5-on-5. — Michael Leboff
Not so special: Quietly, Tampa Bay owns the eighth-worst penalty kill in the league at 78.1%. Washington may be only slightly above average on the power play this year (20.95%, which ranks 12th in the league), but the two players most likely to take advantage are Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson. They join Nikita Kucherov as the only players in the 99th percentile of power-play shots over the past month in this game. — Joe Holka
The man they call Kuch: Kucherov’s 6.14 shot attempts per game over the past month lead the slate, and he trails only Cam Atkinson today in shots on goal per game over that same period. That said, the game could easily underwhelm from a peripheral stats perspective; both the Lightning and Capitals own a bottom-six Corsi For average over the past month and sit outside the top eight in Corsi Expectation today.
Luckily, Kucherov’s value usually stems from his usage on the power play, where he ranks in the 99th percentile in power-play shots over the past month. It’s notable that while Kucherov has averaged 0.9 fewer DraftKings PPG on the road, he has still performed above his salary-based expectation (DraftKings Plus/Minus of 0.42) and has seen his average ownership rate dip from 18.1 to 11.6% in large-field guaranteed prize pools. — Joe Holka
Payback: In the 2011 postseason, the Capitals were swept in the conference semifinals by the Lightning. Since that series, the Caps are 11-1 on the moneyline against Tampa Bay at home, Washington’s most profitable opponent in that span. The Caps are beating the Lightning by 1.5 goals per game and have won by two or more goals in their last five tilts with Tampa. — Evan Abrams
Puck Luck: In terms of PDO (a measure of luck which uses save percentage + shot percentage where 100 is average), the Lightning are the most fortunate team in the league at 102.49. While PDO is often an accurate gauge for which teams are getting the bounces, the Lightning and to some extent the Capitals, who are third in the league at 102.03, have talented shooters and a great goaltender, so their PDO is more representative of their talent than how lucky they’ve been. — Michael Leboff
LOS ANGELES KINGS (+151) AT WINNIPEG JETS (-175)
8 p.m. ET
Jet fuel: The Jets are 23-7 on the moneyline at home this season and are one win shy of tying their franchise record of 24 home wins set by the Atlanta Thrashers (RIP) in 2005.
Over the past two years, Winnipeg is the second-most profitable team in the league when facing conference opponents at home, with a 29-11 record.
On March 11 last season, the Jets were shut out 3-0 at home by the Flames. Since then, Winnipeg has won 17 of 21 games at home against Western Conference foes. — Evan Abrams
Winnipeg doesn’t have any holes: Given the Jets’ top-level talent, their offense is usually the first thing that comes to mind. And, yes, the Jets do have one of the league’s most potent attacks, but it’s their defense that has turned heads this season.
Winnipeg has allowed the fewest high-danger scoring chances when playing 5-on-5 this year and ranks fifth in the league in expected goals (xG) against. The Jets’ ability to suppress shots — they’ve allowed the third-fewest shot attempts at 5-on-5 this year — has also allowed 24-year-old goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to succeed.
With a talent-laden offense and a well-organized, deep defense, it is no wonder the Jets have seen their title odds slashed from +6600 to +900 since opening night. — Michael Leboff
Pace watch: Both Los Angeles and Winnipeg play “low-event hockey.” In terms of pace (shot attempts for + shot attempts against), both the Jets and Kings rank in the bottom third of the league.
On average, Winnipeg attempts 50.6 and allows 46.7 shots per game, while Los Angeles averages 49.5 attempts for and 49.0 attempts against per game at 5-on-5. — Michael Leboff
DFS nugget No. 1: At just $4,300 on DraftKings, Alec Martinez is a strong value option as the only player in this game who ranks in the 99th percentile of shots+blocks over the past month. That said, a lack of pace is certainly a concern. The Kings have the fourth-lowest Corsi Expectation on the slate and face a Jets defense allowing the third-lowest Corsi over the past month. — Joe Holka
DFS nugget No. 2: Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele have been arguably the most dynamic duo in all of DFS hockey in February, averaging 5.7 and 5.69 DraftKings points, respectively. They have a ludicrous 0.52 correlation coefficient in our models, and over the past month, both players rank in the top two for points per 60 minutes of ice time (pts/60) among all Winnipeg skaters. — Joe Holka
Top Photo: Steven Stamkos
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports