Golden Knights vs. Capitals Odds, Pick, Preview: High-End Offensive Talent Will Shine Monday
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin.
Golden Knights at Capitals Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||+105|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
The Washington Capitals will host the Vegas Golden Knights in their first matchup this season. Both teams have been playing mediocre hockey in their last 10 games due to injuries and battles with COVID. At full strength, both teams are some of the strongest in hockey, but remain shorthanded on Monday.
Vegas, while standing atop a fairly weak Pacific Division, have gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. The Christmas pause has helped teams, but it has hurt teams like the Knights. Before their most recent win in Montreal, they did go through a three-game losing streak, so they’ll look to continue their winning ways.
Washington, while playing similar hockey to Vegas, is in a much stronger division. Once sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, they now are in the first Wild Card spot, and have also gone 4-4-2 over their last 10.
Golden Knights Struggling in Their Own End
With a loaded and stacked roster, the Golden Knights were able to pick themselves out of their muddy start to the season. However, injuries have been the story this year as they’ll be without captain Mark Stone on Monday. But Max Pacioretty, Nic Hague, Zach Whitecloud and Alec Martinez all traveled with the team, which means they could play some time soon. They’re not lacking on top end talent though, as they’re led by Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and Shea Theodore.
Even with all the injuries, Vegas is one of the top teams at generating play. Their expected goals per 60 minutes is fifth in the league 2.89 xGF/60, and 5th in creating high danger chances. On the power play, they didn’t start the season well, but eventually built themselves up to 12th in the league at a 21.9% rate.
Defensively, the Knights haven’t fared very well. While they have a solid backend, they do allow the third-most high danger chances, and the 13th most goals in the league.
What once was a strength, the goaltending now seems to be a bit of an Achilles heel. Robin Lehner is a well-respected goalie, but his numbers have been average at best. He’s currently posting a .903 SV% as well as a 3.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). Laurent Brossoit is a decent backup with a .900 SV% and a 1.0 GSAx, but he hasn’t played since Jan. 2, so he could potentially see the ice. I would keep a close eye on that.
Capitals Still Driving Offense
After missing some key pieces, there’s a chance the Caps get some back. John Carlson has been out in COVID protocol, but he could be back in time for this game, while TJ Oshie is questionable, and Dmitri Orlov is coming back from suspension.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Alex Ovechkin who is chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, and Evgeny Kuznetsov who are both scoring at above a point per game rate. They’re the key cogs in Washington’s success, but as we all know, you need your supporting cast.
The Capitals always had an exceptional ability to drive play. Their expected goals per 60 is sixth (one spot below Vegas) at a 2.87 xGF/60, and they generate the 11th-most high danger chances. What’s shocking is how poor their power play is. With Ovechkin looming with his deadly one timer, they’re always a threat, but they’re a bottom five unit, scoring at a measly 14.8% clip.
On the defensive side, Washington is very much in the middle of the pack. They allow the 15th-most high danger chances and the 19th-most goals.
Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have split the season in starts. Vanecek has done a fairly good job in his time with a .909 SV% and a -2.8 GSAx, and has played the last three games. Samsonov is posting slightly worse statistics than Vanecek, but is still serviceable. He’s posting a .903 SV% with a -3.3 GSAx. With how coach Peter Laviolette has created his goalie rotation, I would guess Samsonov gets the nod, but you never know anymore.
Capitals vs. Golden Knights Pick
Both these teams are very talented, have average goaltending, and have identical records over their last 10 games. There’s not a ton between the two teams, so I’m making a play on the total here.
One could argue that with Vegas’ inability to defend their own zone well helps the Capitals in this situation — but I think the over is the best bet for this game with all the high-end talent on both sides.
Pick: Over 6 (-115)